Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Via Brera, 28, Milano
Lombardia, Italy
Phone: +39 (0)2 722 63 264 - 229
closed on: Mondays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
Museum Type: Art
Pinacoteca di Brera museum Milan

The Pinacoteca di Brera is an art museum in Milan mostly focused on painting from the early Italian Renaissance to the 20th century.

The origins of the Pinacoteca (painting collection) di Brera trace back to 1776 when Empress Maria Theresa of Austria established a collection of fine art aimed to inspire the students of the then newly founded Academy of Fine Arts of Milan.

In 1806, Emperor Napoleon I of France expanded the academy’s collection and transformed it into a public museum, with a view to celebrating Milan as the capital of the newly-established Kingdom of Italy by showcasing preeminent artworks “collected” from all the territories conquered by the Napoleonic armies, including a large number of works seized from Italian churches and monasteries.

The museum is housed in the Palazzo Brera, an imposing 24,000-square-meter (260,000-square-foot) palace built in the early 17th century after a design by Francesco Maria Richini, and substantially enlarged and renovated in the second half of the 18th century by Giuseppe Piermarini, one of the most renowned Italian Neoclassical architects.

Pinacoteca Brera Milano 3

Palazzo Brera, Milan, main courtyard; photo Davide Oliva (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Painting collection

The vast collection of the Pinacoteca di Brera comprises paintings, mostly Italian, dating from the 14th to the 20th century, including works by Piero della Francesca, Andrea Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, Perugino, Donato Bramante, Raphael, Titian, Lorenzo Lotto, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, and Canaletto; together with a small number of Flemish paintings also by Pieter Paul Rubens, and Antony van Dyck.

World-famous masterpieces on view in the museum include the Lamentation of Christ by Mantegna; the Brera Madonna by Piero della Francesca, Raphael’s The Marriage of the Vergin; the Pietà by Giovanni Bellini, and the Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio, among others.

In the 1970s the museum’s permanent collection was expanded, through acquisitions and donations, also with paintings by some of the most important Italian artists of the early 20th century, including Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Filippo De Pisis, Amedeo Modigliani, Giorgio de Chirico, and Giorgio Morandi.

Along with paintings the museum’s collection also features a number of drawings, including remarkable pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Guido Reni, and Guercino.

Pinacoteca di Brera

One of the rooms of the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan; photo George M. Groutas (CC BY 2.0).


The program of the Pinacoteca di Brera features special exhibitions, conferences, concerts, screenings, special events, and educational programs and workshops for children, teens, adults, and families.

The Pinacoteca is located in the Brera quarter, in the very heart of Milan; the nearest metro station is Lanza (line M2).


Andrea Mantegna Cristo Pinacoteca Brera Milano

Andrea Mantegna, The Dead Christ and Three Mourners (also known as Lamentation of Christ), 1470-1474, tempera on canvas; photo: Carlos Fernández (CC BY 2.0).

Palazzo Brera Milano

Palazzo Brera, Milan, main facade on via Brera; photo: magro_kr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Raffaello Sanzio Pinacoteca Brera Milano

Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio), The Marriage of the Vergin,1504, oil on panel; photo courtesy of Pinacoteca di Brera

Giovanni Bellini Pinacoteca Brera Milano

Gentile Bellini and Giovanni Bellini, Saint Mark Preaching in a Square of Alexandria in Egypt, 1504-1507, oil on canvas; photo: Frans Vandewalle (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Piero della Francesca Brera Madonna Pinacoteca Brera Milano

Piero della Francesca, The Virgin with Child, Angels and Saints (also known as Brera Madonna, or Pala Montefeltro), 1472-1474, tempera on panel; image courtesy of Pinacoteca di Brera

Canaletto Pinacoteca Brera Milano

Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal), View of St. Mark’s from the Punta della Dogana, 1740-1745, oil on canvas; photo: Maurizio Abbiateci (CC BY 2.0).

Cover image: Palazzo Brera, Milan, view of the main courtyard at night; photo: Jacqueline Poggi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

How our readers rate this museum (you can vote)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

sponsored links

More in Milan



copyright Inexhibit 2022 - ISSN: 2283-5474