Last month, for a short time, in Lombardy, the region where we live, museums were opened and Nazim and I immediately booked a visit to the Pinacoteca di Brera here in Milan. I must tell you that I feel particularly linked to this very important city museum because it shares the space of the beautiful building that also houses the Academy of Fine Arts, the school I attended a million years ago.
Within its thick, old walls I lived four years, beautiful love and all the hopes of a young woman, busy finding her way. In my opinion, Brera does not have the attention it deserves: inside it exhibits very important art pieces and its warehouses are so crowded that the museum has invented a rotation system to showcase the very rich collection that usually doesn’t find space in the rooms.
Maria Theresa of Austria, who inherited the Habsburg crown and ruled Milan for quite a while, was considered an “enlightened sovereign” thanks to the numerous reforms she implemented during her reign.
In the forty years of her Empire, in addition to having 16 children and to lead the fate of the territories subject to her dominion (here is a detailed list of her titles “Maria Theresia Walburga Amalia Christina von Habsburg“, reigning arch duchess of Austria and reigning queen of Hungary and Bohemia, the reigning queen of Croatia and Slavonia, reigning duchess of Parma and Piacenza, Empress consort of the SRI, Queen consort of Germany, Grand Duchess of Tuscany) she implemented many reforms in the education field.
In 1774 she introduced compulsory primary education from 6 to 12 years and financed the expenses of this project with the requisitions from the Society of Jesus, which had been suppressed sometime earlier.
The Academy of Fine Arts headquarters was immediately identified in the former Jesuit College Building in Brera where already resided not only the Gymnasium and the Palatine Schools for the legal sciences, but also the Astronomical Observatory, the Physics and Chemistry Laboratories for the use of apothecaries, the Botanical Garden, the Public Library and the Palatine Society for the promotion of agriculture and manufacturing.
The purpose of the Austrian government was obvious: to concentrate the Milanese institutions in charge of higher education in one place.
Unlike the other large Italian art galleries, such as the Uffizi in Florence, the Brera Art Gallery is not the result of aristocratic collection donations but its collection was built for the students of the Academy of Fine Arts studies. It was Napoleon who later transformed it into a museum.
After a long period of oblivion in the last few years, the museum and its 38 rooms have been completely refurbished and in addition to this, an elegant café has been opened, furnished with works of art and illuminated by large windows and mirrors named after Fernanda Wittgens, the great Superintendent who saved Brera from the raids of the last war.
Finally, my beloved museum offers itself to the public for what it is worth and if you pass by Milan do not give up on spending at least 3 good hours there: you will find Mantegna, Piero Della Francesca, Caravaggio, Raffaello, Bramante, Tintoretto, Lorenzo Lotto, Giovanni Bellini, Canaletto, Hayez, Boccioni, and many others to welcome you with real masterpieces!
How to get there:
Web Site for more info: Pinacoteca di Brera