Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan

Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan
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the statue of Napoleon in the courtyard

[ Aug.2019 ] We often go to Milan in Italy mainly for business, but this was my first time to visit Pinacoteca di Brera.

I went there with my friend who came from Japan.

This is a gallery housed in the big building called Palazzo Brera and in this building there are other 6 institutions such as the Academy of Fine Arts, National Library and Astronomical Observatory.

The proposer of this gallery was Napoleon and he wanted it to be ‘the Louvre in Italy’.

That is why there were statues of Napoleon both in the courtyard and inside the gallery, but apparently he himself did not like this statue because it is nude.

This gallery provides this kind of interesting episodes on top of the explanation of each work.

Another example was in the room where the works of Carpaccio and Bellini were exhibited, the room which sounded tasty.

I summarize the story: ‘In Venice there was a countess who eats only raw meat.

Her chef had to be creative for each dish for her.

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Brera Madonna by Piero della Francesca

One time when there was a big exhibition of the works of Carpaccio was on in the town, he served the dish of tenderloin thinly sliced like ham with his special sauce.

The countess was very happy with the dish and declared “We call this dish Carpaccio”‘.

On top of these episodes, some of the paintings had the extra plate of famous people’s impression on the work.

For example, “Brera Madonna” by Piero della Francesca had a plate of words by the Japanese author, Yoko Ogawa, which starts with “This is the picture of Silence”.

It is a picture of Virgin Mary in the centre surrounded by four angels (who did not look like angels) and at her foot, there is a kneeling man who is apparently the person who ordered this picture.

None of them had any expressions on their faces, which was peculiar.

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the room for restoration work

Also, we learned about the artist (unfortunately I cannot remember his name) who was shrewd and calculating.

Depending on how much the client paid, he decided how much he himself worked on the picture.

For the poor or stingy client, he let his pupils work for the most part of the painting.

Another characteristic of this gallery was that they were showing behind-the-scenes works to the visitors, such as the way to keep the paintings and the room for restoration work.

Most of the exhibited works were religious pictures and seeing those, my friend let out her simple question, “Didn’t saints have any body hair?”, which made me laugh a lot.

Not only religious ones, but also there was one by Caravaggio.

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‘The Kiss’ by Francesco Hayez

Around the time of Caravaggio’s work which is towards end of the 16th century, it seemed that the paintings of limited light were popular.

There were some other works around the same time near there, but even I, a layperson could see that the Caravaggio’s picture was by far the best.

In the last room, there was a famous picture “The Kiss” by Francesco Hayez and next to that, there was a picture of a room with this ‘The Kiss” was on the wall.

In this room there is a young woman looking at her locket with the sad expression.

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the moving picture of the sad woman

This is the picture by Gerolamo Induno, showing the scene that the woman was thinking about her lover who had gone for fighting in a war and the title is ‘a premonition of sadness’.

This was the most memorable picture for me.

Most of museums and galleries usually have a shop at the end, but not this gallery.

Instead, there was a cafe, so we had a rest.

Apparently there is a shop somewhere else, but we did not see it.