Pinacoteca di Brera

Milan, Italy

The Pinacoteca di Brera is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan. It contains one of the foremost collections of Italian paintings. The convent on the site passed to the Jesuits (1572), then underwent a radical rebuilding by Francesco Maria Richini (1627–28). When the Jesuits were disbanded in 1773, the palazzo remained the seat of the astronomical Observatory and the Braidense National Library founded by the Jesuits.

In 1774 were added the herbarium of the new botanical garden. The buildings were extended to designs by Giuseppe Piermarini, who was appointed professor in the Academy when it was formally founded in 1776, with Giuseppe Parini as dean. Piermarini taught at the Academy for 20 years, while he was controller of the city's urbanistic projects, like the public gardens (1787–1788) and piazza Fontana, (1780—1782).

For the better teaching of architecture, sculpture and the other arts, the Academy initiated by Parini was provided with a collection of casts after the Antique, an essential for inculcating a refined Neoclassicism in the students. Under Parini's successors, the abate Carlo Bianconi (1778–1802) and artist Giuseppe Bossi (1802–1807), the Academy acquired the first paintings of its pinacoteca during the reassignment of works of Italian art that characterized the Napoleonic era. Raphael's Sposalizio (the Marriage of the Virgin) was the key painting of the early collection, and the Academy increased its cultural scope by taking on associates across the First French Empire: David, Pietro Benvenuti, Vincenzo Camuccini, Canova, Thorvaldsen and the archaeologist Ennio Quirino Visconti. In 1805, under Bossi's direction, the series of annual exhibitions was initiated with a system of prizes, a counterpart of the Paris Salons, which served to identify Milan as the cultural capital for contemporary painting in Italy through the 19th century. The Academy's artistic committee, the Commissione di Ornato exercised a controlling influence on public monuments, a precursor of today's Sopraintendenze delle Belle Arti.

The Romantic era witnessed the triumph of academic history painting, guided at the Academy by Francesco Hayez, and the introduction of the landscape as an acceptable academic genre, inspired by Massimo D'Azeglio and Giuseppe Bisi, while the Academy moved towards becoming an institution for teaching the history of art. Thus in 1882 the Paintings Gallery was separated from the Academy.

From 1891 the exhibitions were reduced to triennial events, and architectural projects developed their autonomous course. During the period of the avant-garde when Modernism was becoming established, the director of the Academy Camillo Boito had as pupil Luca Beltrami, and Cesare Tallone taught Carlo Carrà and Achille Funi.

The Brera Observatory hosted the astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli for four decades, and the Orto Botanico di Brera is a historic botanical garden located behind the Pinacoteca.

 

 

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Address

Via Brera 28, Milan, Italy
See all sites in Milan

Details

Founded: 1776
Category: Museums in Italy

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Neil Collis (7 months ago)
A beautiful gallery, rooms are lit and arranged in a calm and thoughtful way which allows you to stop and reflect. Choose 4 or 5 paintings and spend time to adore. My absolute favourite, 'Lady playing the lute' so much detail and passion reflected in this pose.
Mithu Sen (8 months ago)
Excellent art gallery in the Palazzo (the Palace in Brera) hosting some of the most beautiful and priceless pieces. Worth visiting the restoration workshop. The Pinacoteca is located in a traffic free area. Also worth visiting the neighborhood.
Tom Yenk (8 months ago)
Was blown away with the collection of masterpieces! Well worth the time spent. It is a wonderful collection spread over 36 rooms. It also has a garden area and lots of sculptures to feast your eyes on. A must see when in the city.
George Washington (8 months ago)
Now this is the iconic gallery of Milan, it shows us such little of the depository, yet there’s so much. The whole building is an art on it’s own, but the masterpieces that are hidden inside are even more wonderful. It is definitely one of the most important collections in Europe and really convenient, as there aren’t as many tourists as in Firenze or Paris, so no crazy queues. One has enough space and time to enjoy the paintings. There was even a small exposition on restorative works - with the possibility to see restoration-in-progress, a wonderful experience overall, one of the places you must visit when in Milan.
de fauna (9 months ago)
I felt the atmosphere of those centuries when this place was created. You can seat on a bench in front of statues and inhale the reality of time. Go inside to see the masterpieces of the art and feel ancient secrets hidden all around here. Will come back again for sure.
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