What is Pinacoteca Brera in Milan?

Pinacoteca Brera

The National Gallery of Ancient and Modern Art, located in Palazzo Brera, is one of the largest museum complexes in Milan. The Pinacoteca Brera contains some of the greatest masterpieces of artists of the 14th and 19th centuries such as Caravaggio, Bramante, Andrea Mantegna, Raphael Santi, Canaletto, Tintoretto, Giovanni Bellini and many others. The paintings, housed in 38 rooms, are exhibited in chronological order. Most of them are works by Italian Renaissance masters from Lombardy and Veneto. The museum also has the largest collection of Venetian art outside of Venice.

Paintings in the Pinacoteca Brera

Along with the Vatican Museums in Rome and the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, the Pinacoteca Brera in Milan is considered one of the best art galleries in the world. Its collection of paintings now numbers more than 500 and includes masterpieces that are a must-see:

  • “Pietà” (1465) by Giovanni Bellini;
  • “Altarpiece of the Montefeltro” (1472-1474) by Piero della Francesca;
  • “Madonna with the Child, John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist” (1480) by Vincenzo Foppa;
  • “The Dead Christ” (1500) by Andrea Mantegna;
  • “The Betrothal of the Virgin Mary” (1504) by Raphael Santi;
  • “The Finding of the Body of St. Mark” (1562-1566) by Tintoretto;
  • “Dinner at Emmaus” (1601) by Caravaggio.

Pinacoteca Brera

Pinacoteca Brera

One of the most famous paintings of the Milan Pinacoteca is Il Bacio (The Kiss), painted by the Italian artist Francesco Aiez in 1859 for Count Alfonso Maria Visconti di Saliceto. The passionate kiss of a young man and a girl merging in an embrace symbolized in the romantic subject matter of the artwork the unification of Italy and the end of the Risorgimento.

The Brera Art Gallery also contains paintings of many important masters of the twentieth century like Amadeo Modigliani (1884-1920), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) and others. There is also an extensive collection of drawings, which are rarely exhibited in public and are only available to scholars. Among the most valuable works are two drawings by Leonardo da Vinci depicting the head of Christ preparing for the Last Supper and sketches by the artists Guido Reni (1575-1642) and Ludovico Carracci (1555-1619) for their paintings.

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In addition to the collection of paintings, the Pinacoteca Brera includes archaeological collections of the art of Egypt and Ancient Greece, medieval mosaics of Northern Italy from the 9th and 13th centuries, ancient icons, frescoes and sculptures.

Milan – the city of art

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Opening Hours

The Pinacoteca Brera is open from 09:30 to 17:30, except Mondays. Every third Thursday of the month until 10:15 pm.

Weekends and holidays the Gallery is closed on Monday, as well as January 1, May 1 and December 25.

Tickets to the Pinacoteca Brera

For unlimited admission to the museum for 3 months you must buy a season ticket at a price of 15€ (full) and 10€ (discounted).

Special fares Family tickets (1 or 2 adults and up to 5 underage children) – 10€ per adult. Discounted fare (only for EU citizens 18-25 years old) – 2 €. Every third Thursday of the month in the evening hours (from 18:00 to 22:00) the special rate is 3€. Every Tuesday and Wednesday people over the age of 65 can visit the Pinakothek for only 1€.

Free admission Free admission to the Pinacoteca Brera in Milan can be visited by those under 18 years of age on presentation of proof of age, as well as everyone who wants to on the established free Sundays of the year. The latter does not include visits to temporary exhibitions.

Special offers

Brera Gallery: history of creation

One of the most visited art galleries in Italy, with masterpieces by Renaissance masters, is in the Palazzo Brera, built by the Jesuits in the 16th and 17th centuries on the site of a former monastery of the Order of the Humiliati. The building was not completed until 1776, after Milan had fallen under Austrian influence. Empress Maria Theresa of Austria decreed the foundation of the Academy of Fine Arts in the palace, providing students with a diverse collection of artistic paintings.

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Pinacoteca Brera

It was not until 1809, when Milan by Napoleon’s will became the capital of the Italian state, that the Pinacoteca Brera received official museum status. It displayed the most significant paintings brought to the city from all the territories conquered by the French armies. The collection, unlike other famous Italian museums, was not based on the private collections of the aristocracy. It came about as a result of the suppression of many religious orders, the confiscation of paintings from the churches and monasteries of Lombardy, and was supplemented by works of art stolen from various departments of Italy. This explains the predominance of large-format sacred paintings in the collections, which gives the museum a special physiognomy, only partially weakened by later acquisitions.

After the unification of Italy, the Pinacoteca was separated from the Academy of Art and became a state gallery in 1882. Its collections continued to grow during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through numerous donations and acquisitions. For example, an exchange with the Louvre in Paris complemented the gallery’s collection with Flemish masterpieces by Rubens, Jordaens, and Van Dyck.

Pinacoteca Brera Milan

Palazzo Brera is home to several cultural institutions, including a library, observatory, Academy of Sciences, Academy of Art, and Art Gallery. One of the important attractions of the palace is its courtyard, surrounded by a two-story arcaded gallery. In the middle is a bronze statue of Napoleon Bonaparte cast in 1809 by the Venetian sculptor Antonio Canova. It depicts the emperor as Mars the Peacemaker. A number of other statues in the courtyard represent prominent artists, scholars, and patrons of the arts.

How to get to the Pinacoteca Brera

The gallery is located in Milan at via Brera, 28.

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