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.
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.
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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Brera, the quarter of bohemians and artists
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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.
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.
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.
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.
- Metropolitan . The nearest stations are:
- green line M2 – “Lanza”.
- The yellow line M3 is “Montenapoleone”;
A subway map of Milan and urban transport maps are available on the website unitalia.ru. To see them, click here.
The Milan City Pass, the official tourist card, allows you to visit some of Milan’s main attractions for free, to receive discounts on all other attractions and a free audio guide with interactive digital maps and itineraries.
How to save on hotels
You can and should look for hotels not only on bookings! Italy for Italomanians recommends Hotellook, which will help you find and compare many hotel rentals on several booking sites at once!
Pinacoteca Brera in Milan
The Pinacoteca di Brera, founded in the 18th century, is one of the largest art galleries in Milan. It exhibits a huge number of works by Italian painters of the 14th-18th centuries and a unique collection of paintings by European masters of the 15th-17th centuries.
The main masterpiece of art kept in the gallery is considered to be the “Betrothal of Our Lady” by Rafael.
History of the origin of the Brera Pinacoteca
The Pinacoteca Brera is housed in a magnificent Baroque palace built in the 16th century. The first floor of the palace houses the Accademia di Belle Arti Milano.
The decision to organize the Pinacoteca was made by Queen Maria Theresa of Austria in the 18th century. The opening of the art gallery was intended just for students studying at the academy.
Later the collection of the gallery was greatly expanded by Napoleon, who planned to make Milan the capital of all Europe.
The Pinacoteca is always full of people who want to admire true masterpieces of European and, in particular, Italian painting.
It is difficult to see the unique collections of paintings from the 14th-19th centuries, which occupy 38 halls of the palace, in a single day. For convenience, you can go directly to the halls of the era and school of painting you are interested in.
You can take a break from the artistic perception of the works of art on the wonderful terrace in one of the many cafes.
Another nice feature is the possibility to see with your own eyes how paintings are restored in a huge workshop behind the glass walls.
The collection of the Pinacoteca Brera
The Pinacoteca Brera houses unique collections of paintings of the most famous artists such as Raphael, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Mantegna, Donato Bramante, Gentile da Fabriano, Piero da Francesca, Tintoretto, Carpaccio, Lorenzo Lotto, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, El Greco, Goya and many others.
Collections are located in 38 rooms in chronological order and according to the three schools of painting: Tuscan, Venetian, Lombard. Hall ten contains paintings of the 20th century.
Halls 1 to 6
The first room of the Pinacoteca di Brera is entirely devoted to depictions of Jesus Christ. The second, third and fourth halls present paintings by Italian artists from the 13th to 16th centuries. The works of Venetian artists, housed in the fifth and sixth halls, date back to the 15th-16th centuries.
Halls 7 – 19.
The seventh, eighth, ninth and fourteenth halls are also dedicated to paintings by Venetian masters of different eras. From the fifteenth to the nineteenth halls are frescoes of saints and martyrs by masters of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
The twentieth, twenty-second and twenty-third rooms contain paintings by Bolognese artists. The twenty-first room, on the other hand, presents polyptychs from the 15th century. Moving on to the twenty-fourth hall, you can see paintings by Renaissance artists.
Halls 27 to 30
Halls twenty-seven and twenty-eight are reserved for works by Italian masters of the 15th and 16th centuries. In the twenty-ninth hall are paintings by Michelangelo. And in Room 30 are works of the Lombard school of painting of the 17th century.
Halls 31 to 38
Rooms thirty-one, thirty-two, and thirty-three are for paintings by Dutch masters, rooms thirty-five and thirty-six are for Venetian artists, and rooms thirty-seven and thirty-eight are for paintings of 19th century artists. The thirty-fourth hall contains icons from the 18th century.
The most famous masterpieces kept in the gallery are:
- “Young Hannibal Swears an Eternal Hatred of Rome” by Pellegrini Giovanni Antonio;
- “The Dead Christ” by Mantegna;
- “The Miracle of St. Mark” by Tintoretto;
- “Madonna with the Child, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist” by Vincenzo Foppa;
- “The Sermon of St. Mark in Alexandria” by Giovanni and Gentile Bellini;
- “Portrait of Mos Kiesling” by Modigliani;
- Piero della Francesca’s “Altarpiece of the Montefeltro.”
- “Christ at the Column” by Donato Bramante;
- Caravaggio’s “Dinner at Emmaus.”
- “The Kiss” by Francesco Hayes.
And, of course, don’t miss Raphael’s famous painting The Betrothal of the Virgin Mary.
How to get to the Pinacoteca Brera
The Pinacoteca Brera is located at Via Brera, 28 in the neighborhood of the same name. How to get there:
- By subway to Lanza (line 2), Montenapoleone (line 3) or Cairoli (line 1) stations;
- Take bus number 61 to Via Monte di Pietà or via Pontaccio or bus number 57 to the Forobuonaparte stop;
- Streetcar No. 1, 2, 12 and 14 to Via Cusani or streetcar No. 4 to the Lanza stop.
The gallery is open from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday (the ticket office closes at 5.30 pm).
Monday is a day off. Pinakothek is also closed on January 1, May 1 and December 25.
The cost of visiting the Pinakothek (Gallery) Brera as of 2022 is 15 euros for adults. Children under the age of 18 are admitted free of charge.
It is also possible to visit the Pinacoteca every third Thursday of the month from 18.00 to 22.15 (the last admission is at 21.30) for only 3 Euros.
Audioguide in English and Italian costs 5 Euros.
The schedule and prices of tickets may vary: consult the official Pinacotecabrera website at pinacotecabrera.org/en/.
Excursions in Milan
If you want something more interesting than a traditional walk around the city on a map, try a new format of sightseeing. In modern times more and more popular are unusual excursions from the locals! After all, who better than a local knows the history and the most interesting places in Milan?
You can see all the tours and choose the most intriguing on the Tripster website.