Pinacoteca di Brera

Milan, Italy | C.1776

Photo Credit: Maria Antonova


A majority of art collection in Milan Italy began as private collections of princes and noblemen, however the collection present at The Pinacoteca di Brera (“”Brera Art Gallery””) differs because a majority of the most famous works came from areas conquered by French armies. Today it is the main public gallery for paintings in Milan, Italy and it contains one of the primary collections of Italian paintings.

The Palazzo Brera owes its name to the Germanic braida, indicating a grassy opening in the city structure. The convent on the site was passed to the Jesuits in 1572, then underwent a radical renovation. When the Jesuits disbanded in 1773, the palazzo remained the seat of the astronomical Observatory.

Plans for extended the building were enlisted to Giuseppe Piermarini, who was appointed professor of the Academy when it was founded in 1776. In order to improve the teaching of architecture and the arts the Academy was provided with a collection of casts after the Antique. This was an essential tool for inculcating a refined Neoclassicism in the students. The Academy acquired the first paintings of its pinacoteca during the reassignment of works of Italian art that characterized the Napoleonic era.

The Romantic era witnessed the triumph of academic history painting, and the introduction of the landscape as an acceptable academic genre, while the Academy moved towards becoming an institution for teaching the history of art. Thus, in 1882 it was decided that the Paintings Gallery should be separated from the Academy.

Paintings confiscated from churches and convents throughout Lombardy with the religious orders dissolution began to pour into the museum in the early 19th century. This is the reason for why the collection is comprised of chiefly religious works, many of them large altarpieces.

The Pinacoteca di Brera remains one of the most important museums in Milan, if not Europe. Today it houses a truly unrivaled collection of precious works, including more than 400 works from the 14th to the 20th century by master painters such as Piero della Francesca, Raphael, and Caravaggio.

Written By: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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