Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya one museum, 1000 years of art
Past temporary exhibitions
Gods and Myths of Antiquity. The evidence from Hispanic coins
Date: 23rd of February 2012 - 29th of September 2013

Curator: Marta Campo, Head Keeper of the Numismatic Cabinet of Catalonia of the MNAC 

The exhibition Gods and Myths of Antiquity provides a close-up of the divinities, myths and cults of the inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula from the 5th century BC to the arrival of the Visigoths.

The exhibition is organised in three sections, the first of which examines Greek and Oriental cults. The coasts of the Peninsula and of Eivissa were colonised by Greek and Phoeno-Punic populations who founded cities in which the inhabitants worshipped the gods of their lands of origin. When these colonies produced coins they engraved them with images of the divinities and mythological beings forming part of their beliefs, such as Artemis, Athena, Zeus, Melqart, Bes and Tanit.

The second part of the exhibition is devoted to the religious beliefs of the indigenous populations of the Iberian Peninsula. Very little is known about Hispanic divinities, either as regards their names or what they looked like. This is why coinage is of special interest, as it provides a record of the natives' gods in metal. What's more, the representations of plants and animals on the Hispanic issues confirm the importance of cults relating to the sacred universe of nature, also documented in shrines and material remains such as votive offerings or decorated ceramics.

The third section looks at the presence of Roman gods and cults in Hispania up to the arrival of the Visigoths. Romanisation of the Peninsula went beyond just the economic organisation and exploitation of the territory. It also involved the introduction of Roman culture, in which religious beliefs played a very important part. Rome gradually imposed its gods and its holy rituals, something which is demonstrated by the monetary iconography of the early days of the empire. Roman religious practices persisted in the coins used by the Hispanic peoples until the arrival of the Visigoths, when the Christian cross replaced the pagan gods in monetary iconography.

Catalogue: Gods and Myths of Antiquity

'The Battle of Tetouan' of Fortuny. From the Trench to the Museum
Date: 19th of April 2013 - 15th of September 2013

Marià Fortuny. The Battle of Tetouan. Roma, 1863-1865. Oil on canvas. 300 x 972 cm

Francesc Quílez and Jordi A. Carbonell

The immense canvas ‘The Battle of Tetouan’ (1863 – 1865), realised by Marià Fortuny, has become an icon of our cultural imagination.
On occasion of the 175th anniversary of the artist’s birth, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya joins the acts of commemoration with an exhibition providing the viewer with a range of perspectives in understanding the richness and complexity of this great composition. More than 130 pieces occupy the space where Fortuny’s great work has been displayed since 2004.

The first section of the exhibition highlights the preparatory drawings of the work, drawings belonging to the collection of the Museu Nacional and the Institut Municipal de Museus de Reus. A further space has been dedicated to ‘The Battle of Wad-Ras’, also by Fortuny, complimented by a watercolour study of Tetouan by the painter and a selection of photographs by Enrique Facio. The second part of the exhibition presents a graphic chronicle of the history of the painting: the processes of intervention, translations and changes of location, etc.

Marià Fortuny. Wounded Moroccan, circa 1863-1865, MNAC          Detail of the Battle of Tetouan

A further section is dedicated to Salvador Dalí, author of a version of the Battle of Tetouan which was exhibited alongside the homonymous work by Fortuny in the Saló del Tinell in the year 1962. A series of photographs of Dalí’s work and some of his preparatory drawings recall this event. In addition, the exhibition features major loans from important public and private collections, like those of the Real Biblioteca de Madrid, the Fundación Lázaro Galdiano, the Museo Nacional del Prado or the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí of Figueres.

Activities centring on the exhibition

Videos from the exhibition

Exhibition Catalogue

Press file (pdf)

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