Milan, one of the best known Italian cities, full of attractions, monuments and museums , such as the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Teatro la Scala. Among the many museums, one of the most important is undoubtedly the Pinacoteca di Brera, a renowned gallery of ancient and modern art . Located inside the palace of the same name, one of the largest complexes in the city, you can admire all the splendor of Italian art. So, if you are in Milan, we highly recommend a visit to this museum. Below, you will find all the useful information on how to organize your visit and what to see at the Brera Art Gallery .
What to see and how to visit the Brera Art Gallery
The Pinacoteca di Brera is spread over a single floor and the collection is divided into 38 exhibition rooms divided according to time:
- Fresco gallery : a large corridor connecting room 1 and room 1A
- Gothic and late Gothic painting : from rooms 2 to 4 containing paintings from the late thirteenth to the mid-fifteenth century
- Venetian painting of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries : from room 5 to 7 containing the renowned Risen Christ by Andrea Mantegna in addition to the three Napoleonic salons
- Lombard painting of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries : from room 10 to 13
- Renaissance Ferrara, Emilia and Marche : from room 20 to 23
- Galleria Piero della Francesca, Bramante, Raffaello : considered the heart of the art gallery, it is located in room 24
- Central Italian painting – 16th and 17th centuries : rooms 27 and 28
- Galleria Caravaggio and the Lombard seventeenth century : room 29 and 30 containing the famous work of Caravaggio, the Basket of fruit
- Foreign Schools Gallery : from room 31 to 33
- The eighteenth century : from room 34 to 36
- The nineteenth century : rooms 37 and 38
Worthy of note is the courtyard of honor of the Brera palace , built in the first half of the 1600s by the architect Francesco Maria Richini, which houses the sculptures of great Italian sculptors such as Innocenzo Fraccaroli with the monument to Pietro Verri, Benedetto Cacciatori with the monument to Luigi Cagnola, Antonio Canova with the monument depicting Napoleon in the guise of Mars . In addition, the complex contains other buildings such as: the Braidense National Library, the Brera Observatory, the Botanical Garden, the Lombard Institute of Sciences and Letters and the Academy of Fine Arts.
But now, let’s find out together which ones are the 10 works to see at the Brera Art Gallery .
1 – The Kiss
This is one of the symbolic paintings of the Brera Art Gallery, as well as one of the most famous kisses on canvas.
The two young people represent the love for the homeland and the young nation that was born following the second war of independence. He was immediately appreciated.
Hayez also made other versions of this painting, now preserved in several European collections.
- Author : Francesco Hayez
- Date : 1859
- Room : Room XXXVIII
2 – Dead Christ in the Sepulcher and Three Mourners
This is the original painting, found in Mantegna’s studio after his death. It was sold by his son Ludovico to Cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga and present in the Pinacoteca since 1824. The work shows the moment in which, after the crucifixion, Christ was prepared and disappeared with perfumes for burial.
- Author : Andrea Mantegna
- Date : 1483
- Room : Room VI
3 – Supper at Emmaus
This picture was painted by Caravaggio in his last period in Rome, shortly before the moment in which he was forced to flee for the accusation of murder. But first, he managed to sell the work to the Marquis Patrizi. The light is very dark, it looks almost dramatic, while the scene is very intimate.
- Author : Caravaggio
- Dated : 1605/1606
- Room : Room XXVIII
4 – Marriage of the Virgin
According to Sanzio, the painter had to ” do things not as nature does them but as she should do them ” and this painting is precisely the expression on canvas of his thought. In fact, all the elements, the measures, the relationships, the perspective, the vanishing point, have been studied in the smallest detail and are linked by mathematical relations of proportion.
- Author : Raffaello Sanzio
- Date : 1504
- Room : Room XXIV
5 – Montefeltro altarpiece
The altarpiece was originally located in the Church of San Bernardino in Urbino and came to the Pinacoteca di Brera following the Napoleonic suppressions. The scene represented is that of the Sacred Conversation; in the center is the Virgin enthroned, holding the Infant Jesus in her arms, surrounded by saints. At his shoulder is the Archangel Gabriel, while kneeling in front we find Federico da Montefeltro.
- Author : Piero della Francesca
- Dated : 1465/1470
- Room : Room XXIV
6 – The Finding of the Body of San Marco
This painting is part of a pictorial cycle commissioned by Tommaso Rangone to Tintoretto on the life of San Marco and on the miracles that concern him. The moment depicted is that in which the Saint shows himself in front of the Venetians, who were extracting the corpses from the tombs to look for his body.
- Author : Tintoretto
- Dated : 1562/1566
- Room : Room IX
7 – Pity
The influences that Mantegna had on him can be seen on this painting by Bellini. The scene is set in natural light and the figures are in the foreground, almost invading the spectator’s space. The painting conveys a great feeling of sadness and pain.
- Author : Giovanni Bellini
- Date : circa 1400
- Room : Room VI
8 – Altarpiece of Arcevia
This Altarpiece, with the extended name Madonna Enthroned with Child and Saints Giacomo Maggiore, Simone, Francesco d’Assisi and Bonaventura , comes from the Filippini Chapel of the Conventual Church of San Francesco in Acervia, Ancona and was brought to the Pinacoteca following the Napoleonic requisitions. .
- Author : Luca Signorelli
- Date : 1508
9 – St Mark’s sermon in a square in Alexandria in Egypt
This work, an oil on canvas measuring 347 x 770 centimeters, was originally located in the hall of the Scuola Grande di San Marco in Venice. It was begun by Gentile Bellini in 1504 but was unable to finish it due to his death in 1507. The painting was then completed by his brother Giovanni, as desired by Gentile in his will.
- Author : Gentile Bellini and Giovanni Bellini
- Dated : 1504/1507
- Room : Room VIII
10 – Triptych-Reliquary
The full name is Triptych – reliquary with Crucifixion, Annunciation and Thirty Saints . Reliquary because in the circular cavities placed at the top there were once certainly relics kept, today unfortunately they have been lost.
- Author : Bartolomeo from Reggio and Jacopino from Reggio
- Dated : 1360/1365
- Room : Room III
Times and prices
- Timetables: Tuesday to Sunday 8:30 am – 7:15 pm, every third Thursday of the month 8:30 am – 10:15 pm; closed on Mondays, January 1st and December 25th.
- Best time to avoid queues : we recommend buying your ticket online or arriving at least half an hour before opening time. Also, the early hours are when the museum is least crowded.
- Ticket cost: full € 12.00
- Reductions : € 2.00 children between 18 and 25 years of the EU; € 1.00 every Saturday and Sunday for over 65s
- Free : every first Sunday of the month; under 18, disabled accompanying person, teachers and students of Architecture, Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Educational Sciences, Literature and Philosophy with historical-artistic or archaeological orientation, Academy of Fine Arts, Art history teachers of high school institutions, guides and professional licensed interpreters, registered journalists
- Audio guides : € 5.00 for adults; € 2.50 path for children
- Guided tours : € 80.00 schools; € 100.00 groups in Italian; € 120.00 groups in a foreign language
Useful tips for visiting the attraction
- Get up early : the ideal would be to reach the entrance half an hour before opening.
- Buy the city card : if you are in possession of the MilanoCard you will have a 5% discount on the ticket of the Pinacoteca di Brera as well as having the opportunity to travel for free on all public transport in Milan (metro, tram, bus, suburban) and reduced fares for different attractions
- Priority ticket : book your visit directly
- Beware of restrictions : inside the Pinacoteca it is forbidden to take pictures with a flash, use the selfie stick, shoot video with video cameras, keep mobile phones with the ringtone (set them in silent mode), consume food and drinks, smoke, introduce animals
- Minimum time : we recommend that you dedicate at least two hours to visit the Pinacoteca
Where is it and how to get there
- On foot : the museum is 12 minutes from the center, just 650 meters from the Castello Sforzesco
- By bus : to get there you can take line 61 which stops in via Pontaccio / via Monte di Pietà and line 57, getting off at Foro Bonaparte.
- By metro : near the Pinacoteca there is the Lanza stop, where Line 2 passes; the Montenapoleone stop, line 3; Cairoli stop, line 1.
- By train : the reference stations are the Central station, served by the M2 and M3 lines; the Garibaldi station served by the M2 line; the Cadorna Fn station served by the M2 line
Historical notes and curiosities: what to know in brief
The Pinacoteca di Brera was opened to the public in 1809. The Academy was founded in the second half of the eighteenth century thanks to the initiative of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria , while the Museum was created by the will of Napoleon Bonaparte . The latter wanted to create a collection of works for the training of students and collected a whole series of masterpieces of Italian painting from churches and convents suppressed when Milan was the capital of the Italian Kingdom. This means that the Pinacoteca di Brera, unlike other great Italian museums, does not originate from private collections or from noble families, but was born thanks to a political initiative of the State . Then, the different collections have been enriched year after year thanks to exchanges, purchases and donations.