Brera Academy

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Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera
Established 1776
Type Public
Dean Franco Marrocco
Students 3,800[1]
Location Milan, Italy
Campus Urban

The Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera ("academy of fine arts of Brera"), also known as the Accademia di Brera or Brera Academy, is a state-run tertiary public academy of fine arts in Milan, Italy.


The Academy was founded in 1776 by Maria Theresa of Austria with the objective to teach and research within the creative arts and cultural historical disciplines.

Under the current Italian regulations, the Brera Academy issues academic diplomas of first level (equivalent to degree) and academic diplomas of second level (equivalent to master's degree). In 2005 the teaching of the academy has been classified by UNESCO as "A5". It is also regarded as one of the world’s leading academic institutions.

The Academy has about 3,800 students,[1] including about 1,000 foreign students (mostly postgraduates).[1] It actively exchanges students and teachers with other European countries through the ERASMUS programme, and since 2006, with countries outside EU such as Japan, China, Hong Kong, Mexico, Taiwan and Australia.


Palazzo Brera entrance: Napoleon Bonaparte, Antonio Canova’s bronze statue.
  • 1809: The architectural complex of Palazzo Brera was adapted to its new function, following the design of Pietro Gilardoni. The fourteenth-century façade of the Church of Santa Maria di Brera attributed to Giovanni di Balduccio from Pisa, was destroyed. The plan aimed to provide larger spaces to the Academy Schools of Painting and Sculpture and to enlarge the exhibition halls of the galleries above. After demolition, the bas-reliefs and sculptures and fragments of the façade of the portal of the Church were transferred to the Museo d'Arte Antica of the Sforza Castle in Milan, where they are still visible to these days. The works that decorated the inside of the church, made by Bernardino Luini, Bernardo Senale, Bartolomeo Suardi known as Bramantino and Vincenzo Foppa, are now in the Brera Art Gallery and in the Museum of Science and Technology in Milan. Other parts of frescoes attributed to Giusto de' Menabuoi, bases of columns, capitals and wall decorations are still visible in the classrooms used by the Design Department of Design and Applied Arts.
  • 1859: Following a visit by Napoleon III, the bronze statue Napoleon I as a peacemaker Mars was placed at the center of the Palazzo Brera court, on a marble pedestal designed by Luigi Bisi. The statue was commissioned by Eugène de Beauharnais in 1807, and produced in Rome in the years 1811-1812 from a model by Antonio Canova.
Raphael’s most sophisticated altarpiece: The Wedding of the Virgin.
  • 1863: The Archaeological Museum was founded.
  • 1891: The School of Architecture was founded.
  • 1923: The reform of the Italian schools promoted by Giovanni Gentile after the First World War instituted the "Liceo Artistico" (art high school) in the same premises of the Academy. Adolfo Wildt, Francesco Messina and Marino Marini were nominated heads of the Sculpture Department. Notable students from this period are Lucio Fontana and Fausto Melotti. The Fresco chair was established for Achille Funi.
  • 1931: The School of Architecture moved to the Politecnico di Milano.
  • 1946: After the Second World War, the Academy continued under the direction of Aldo Carpi, with Guido Ballo as Professor of Art History, Alik Cavaliere and Andrea Cascella (sculpture), Mauro Reggiani, Domenico Cantatore, Pompeo Borra and Domenico Purificato (painting).

General information[edit]

Brera has five departments:

Since 1997-98, it has included four 'experimental' ones with yearly intake limited to 20 students:

  • Sacred Art
  • Restoration
  • Art Curating
  • Multimedia Communication

Admission of foreign citizens[edit]

Foreign citizens wishing to enroll as students at the Brera Academy should present their application to the Italian Consulate in their country not later than 15 March of the year in which they intend to begin their studies at Brera. Together with their application they should submit an educational curriculum (complete with relevant diplomas), and an indication of the course of their choice. The consular authorities will verify the equivalence of study titles and will send the translated documentation to the secretariat of the Academy. Upon completion of this procedure, the candidate will be invited to participate in the entry examinations, which consist in a test of artistic ability pertinent to the course chosen, and a test of general cultural awareness. Foreign citizens will also have to pass a written Italian language test.


  • The Collection of Sculptures and Gypsum Copies
  • The Historical Archive
  • The Historical Fund
  • The Cabinet of Drawings and Prints
  • The Picture Gallery
  • The Photographic Archives
  • The Contemporary Art Library of the Brera Academy
Panorama view of the main court of Brera Academy in Milan, Italy.

Courses and departments[edit]

Undergraduate courses (3 years)[edit]

Department of Visual Arts:

  • Painting
  • Sculptor
  • Graphics
  • Decoration

Department of Design and Applied Arts:

  • Theatre Design
  • Restoration
  • Artistic Design for the Enterprises
  • New Technologies for the Arts

Department of Communication and Art Teaching:

  • Branches of Development of Cultural Heritage
  • Communication and Education applied to Contemporary Art

Graduate courses (2 years)[edit]

Department of Visual Arts:

  • Painting
  • Sculptor
  • Graphics
  • Decoration
  • Anthropology and Contemporary Sacred Art

Department of Design and Applied Arts:

  • Theatre Design
  • Costume Design
  • Stage Design for Film and Television
  • Restoration of Contemporary Art
  • Product Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Multimedia Interactive and Performative Arts
  • Multimedia Arts Film and Video
  • Photography

Department of Communication and Art Teaching:

  • Creative Communication for Cultural Heritage
  • Communication and Organization for Contemporary Art

Specialization courses (2 years)[edit]

In agreement with Psychiatry Faculty of the University of Pavia:

  • Theory and Practice of Art Therapeutics

Academics and alumni[edit]

Alumni of the academy include the playwright Dario Fo, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature;[3] and the Futurist painter Carlo Carrà, who also taught at the academy from 1939 to 1952.[4]

Others who have taught at the Brera include the Venetian painter Francesco Hayez, professor of painting from 1822 to 1880;[5] and the architect and writer Camillo Boito, who was professor of architecture from 1860 to 1909, and for part of that time also president of the academy[6] and the painter Giuseppe Amisani.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Milano. Grande Brera rischia di non partire". Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Accademia di Brera - Storia". Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Mitchell, Tony (1999), Dario Fo: People's Court Jester (Updated and Expanded), London: Methuen, p. 49, ISBN 0-413-73320-3. 
  4. ^ Giuseppe Marchiori (1977) Carrà, Carlo. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, volume 20. Roma: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed April 2014.
  5. ^ Michele Di Monte (2004). Hayez, Francesco. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, volume 61. Roma: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed April 2014.
  6. ^ Giuseppe Miano (1969). Boito, Camillo. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, volume 11. Roma: Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana. Accessed April 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°28′19.20″N 9°11′16.43″E / 45.4720000°N 9.1878972°E / 45.4720000; 9.1878972