Pinacoteca di Brera

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Courtyard of the Palazzo Brera
Napoleon as Mars who brings peace ( Antonio Canova , 1811); Statue in the Cortile del Palazzo di Brera

The Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan is one of the most important art museums in Italy. It has its seat in the baroque " Palazzo di Brera ". The main focus of the exhibition is on Northern Italian painting from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but the Trecento , the other Italian art landscapes and more recent art eras are also represented alongside early antiquity and Dutch baroque painting.


The painting collection goes back to the founding of an art academy ( Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera ) in 1776, when Lombardy belonged to the Habsburg Empire . At the instigation of Maria Theresa , a collection of plaster casts as well as prints and drawings was added to the academy.

The basis for the collection was formed by altarpieces, which were added to the collection after Napoleon closed monasteries and churches . While the best and most famous works were brought to the Louvre in Paris , the images disdained by Napoleon formed the basis of the great collections in Milan, Venice and Bologna .

After the Congress of Vienna the works of art were supposed to be returned to their previous owners, but Brera was able to keep most of the objects and expand their holdings through donations. In 1882 the academy and the museum were divided into two independent organizations, with regrettable consequences for the collection, which was partly dispersed and distributed to other museums.

During the First World War , the collection was brought to Rome for security reasons and returned to a newly renovated house after the end of the war. The collection survived the Second World War unscathed as it was brought to safety in time while the building was badly damaged. Thanks to generous public and private funding, the building was renovated and reopened to visitors.

The Palazzo also houses the Academy of Fine Arts , the Istituto Lombardo Accademia di Scienze e Lettere and several other cultural institutions.

Exhibited works (selection)

Gentile Bellini: The Sermon of St. Mark in Alexandria, Egypt
Andrea Mantegna: Lamentation of Christ
Piero della Francesca: Pala Montefeltro


  • Eugen Külborn (editor): Galeria Mundi. A trip through the museums . Frankfurt am Main: Hoechst AG, 1981, without ISBN (p. 216–221 Pinacoteca di Brera )

Web links

Commons : Pinacoteca di Brera (Milan)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 45 ° 28 ′ 19 ″  N , 9 ° 11 ′ 17 ″  E