Friday, October 18, 2019

Cinquecento Painting at the Brera

Michele da Verona
The Crucifixion
1501
oil on canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Giovanni Martini
St Ursula among the Virgins
ca. 1503-1507
oil on canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Francesco Francia
Annunciation
1505
tempera and oil on panel, transferred to canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Francesco Bonsignori
St Louis and St Francis holding the Monogram of Christ
1506-1507
oil on canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Luca Signorelli
Madonna and Child enthroned
with St James the Greater, St Simon, St Francis and St Bonaventure

1507
oil on panel
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

"The picture gallery of the Brera, one of the finest in Italy, occupies an imposing palace with a good courtyard by Ricchini," as the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica reported in 1911.  Built as a Jesuit college in 1651, the complex became state property after the Order's suppression during the 1770s.  At that time the site was turned over to Milan's Accademia di Belle Arti.  Thus, the Brera Gallery began as a repository for plaster casts, prints and paintings used as models by the Academy students.  The space was enlarged early in the 19th century to accommodate works of art seized by Napoleon from churches and convents in northern Italy (which is to say those works deemed not quite precious or portable enough to be shipped to Paris and the Louvre as imperial booty, where many of Napoleon's finest thefts remain to this day).  Thus, unlike other important Italian museums, the Brera was born not from private but from political and public collecting.  Collection-building by confiscation also explains why holdings are to this day heavily weighted in favor of large altarpieces and other similar specimens of church-sponsored art.

Bernardino Zenale
Madonna and Child enthroned
with St James, St Philip and the family of Antonio Busti (Donors)

ca. 1515-18
oil on panel
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Giovanni Mansueti
St Mark in Alexandria baptizing Ananias
ca. 1519-24
oil on canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Ludovico Mazzolino
Raising of Lazarus
1527
oil on panel
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Girolamo da Santa Croce
St Stephen
ca. 1530-40
oil on panel
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Agnolo Bronzino
Portrait of Andrea Doria in the guise of Neptune
ca. 1531-33
oil on canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Gaudenzio Ferrari
Martyrdom of St Catherine of Alexandria
1540
oil on panel
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Simone Peterzano
Venus and Cupid with Two Satyrs in a Landscape
ca. 1570-73
oil on panel
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Federico Barocci
Martyrdom of St Vitalis
1583
oil on canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Giovanni Ambrogio Figino
Madonna and Child enthroned
with St John the Evangelist and St Michael Archangel

1590
oil on canvas
Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan