Bucharest is an underrated art destination. But the city has a lot of potential to surprise. Alongside from the many galleries hosting exhibitions by up-and-coming artists, Bucharest’s museums are home to a large chunk of the country’s artistic heritage. Here are the best art museums to visit in Bucharest.
National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC)
Located in the mammoth building erected by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, formerly known as the House of the People, the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC) is Bucharest’s top destination for contemporary art. The building’s tall and large halls with marble covered walls are perfectly suited for hosting some of the most innovative contemporary art installations and exhibitions in town. Make sure to check the cafe located on the top floor of the museum, and set some time aside to take in the views offered by the terrace overlooking Bucharest’s skyline.
The Museum of Art Collections
The Museum of Art Collections is one of Bucharest’s gems. Hosting an art collection comprising many works by Romanian masters such as Theodor Aman, Nicolae Grigorescu, Ioan Andreescu, Nicolae Tonitza, Gheorghe Petrascu, Theodor Pallady, Lucian Grigorescu, Iosif Iser and Camil Ressu, it is a must stop destination for art lovers. The collections, curated by some of the most important aristocratic families in Romania, also include art objects brought from Asia and the Middle East before travelling was something anyone could aspire to. Do not miss the collection of Romanian glass icons and the exhibition of Japanese stamps, as well as one of their many treasures, the Van Gogh drawing.
National Museum of Art of Romania (MNAR)
The National Museum of Art of Romania, located in the former Royal Palace on Calea Victoriei, includes collections of medieval and modern Romanian art, as well as a unique collection curated by the Romanian royal family. The collection of international masters includes works by Poussin, Chardin, Ingres, David, Delacroix, Corot, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Braque.
Make sure to take your time around the Romanian Modern Art Gallery, which features works by Nicholas Polcovnicul, Eustathius Altini, Anton Chladek, Livaditti Niccolo Giovanni Schiavoni, Carol Wahlstein Constantin Daniel Rosenthal, John Negulici, Constantin Lecca and Carol Popp de Szathmary.
Located in the quaint neighbourhood of Cotroceni, this museum houses a collection of 20,000 objects. The museum’s art collection has both and artistic and historic value. The highlights include the collection of the Romanian Royal Family, as well as the many works of medieval artists. The religious art collection is unique in the country and will offer a glimpse into another layer of Romanian culture. Other attractions in the area include the Botanical Garden, so do set aside an afternoon for discovering both, while immersing yourself in the quiet vibe of this old neighbourhood.
Bucharest Municipality Museum
Located straight in the middle of the city, the Bucharest Municipality Museum is hosted by one of the oldest aristocratic houses in Bucharest, as well as one of the few such buildings that remained unaltered for over 100 years. The interior, beautifully decorated by sculptor Karl Storck, is an attraction in itself, so keep your camera on hand. While the museum’s permanent collection is an attraction in itself, the venue often houses temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists.