A small museum houses masterpieces by some of the most important Italian artists in Milan, the fashion capital and financial capital . The Vatican Museums and Uffizi Gallery are the most well-known art museums in Italy. However, the less-known Pinacoteca di Brera is considered to be one of the finest art museums anywhere.
What’s it all about?
The Pinacoteca di Brera (or Brera Art Gallery) is one of Milan’s most important museums. It contains more than 400 works by master painters like Piero della Francesca and Raphael.
It is located in Palazzo Brera and was built in 1776 with the Accademia di Belle Arti or Academy of Fine Arts to provide information for students at the University.
The Palazzo itself is an art work. The Baroque palace was built by the Jesuits in 1797 as a convent. Palazzo Brera was remodeled after they had been moved.
Napoleon’s control over Italy made Milan the capital and the Art Gallery was filled by works from all over the country. It is one the few museums in Italy not created from private collections but by the Italian government.
What can you see?
They are displayed chronologically over six centuries. You will see a lot of Italian painters, particularly those from Lombardy or the Veneto, although there was a trade with Paris which brought some Flemish paintings to Brera. This included works by Rubens, Van Dyck, and others.
The “Discovery of the Body of St. Mark”, by Tintoretto and Caravaggio, Caravaggio’s “Supper At Emmaus”, Piero della Francesca’s “Virgin and Saints” and the “Marriage of the Virgin”, by Raphael, which was painted from a completely new perspective. Francesco Hayez’s Il Bacio (or The Kiss) is another important piece. It shows a passionate kiss between a couple. It’s a political painting, depicting the patriotic spirit that Italy has achieved unification and freedom from the Austro–Hungarian Empire. However, it’s still one of the most romantic paintings of Italian history.
Andrea Mantegna, a Renaissance painter from Lombardia, created the “Lamentation of Christ”. Mantegna’s mastery in perspective makes the painting a tragic and realistic portrayal of a theme. The painting depicts Christ as a foreshortened figure from his feet.
What is it? How do I get there?
The Pinacoteca Di Brera is found in Milan’s hip and arty Brera neighbourhood at via Brera 28. For questions, call or email (+39) 02 722 631. [email protected].
The gallery is closed Mondays. It’s open Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m., and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Free access on the first Sunday of each month.
To get there, you can take the Piccolo Teatro-Bera metro stop on line green. It’s only a short walk from there to a nice neighborhood full of aperitivo bars, restaurants, and shops. Tickets cost 10 euro.
What other information do I need?
The Palazzo Brera was to be the home of the most prestigious institutes of culture in the City when it was taken over by the Jesuits by Queen Maria Teresa. It lives up to this status today. The Palazzo houses the Academy and the stunning Art Gallery. It also contains the Lombard Institute of Science and Literature and Braidense National Library. A Botanical Garden is still being maintained since the 1700s.
The Orto Botanico, located behind the Pinacoteca di Brera, is open April-June 9 a.m. to noon and 3-5:00 p.m. on Mon-Fri. July-Mar 9 at a.m. to noon. The tiny garden is surrounded by wildflowers, aromatic herbs and small vegetable gardens. It’s a great place to do research in this bustling city.