Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

Centred in the heart of Milan, the “Pinacoteca Ambrosiana” houses, amongst the oldest public library of Italy, one of the most impressive art collections in Europe. Closely located by the “Duomo di Milano”, the city’s cathedral, its connection to the historical blueprint of Milan is embedded within the different entities of the institution.

The Ambrosiana as Institution was originally founded at the beginning of the 17th Century by Milanese Archbishop Federico Borromeo. At the time he decided to pursue an innovative idea of creating a cultural place where religion met the studies of different sciences, history and art. Its original inventory comprised the collections of paintings, drawings, etchings, sculptures, books and historical documents.

Borromeo’s personal collection of manuscripts were sourced from around the world during his travels from places such as China, Japan and Russia. Today the institution encompasses the “Biblioteca Ambrosiana”, the “Pinacoteca Ambrosiana” as an art gallery, as well as the “Ambrosian Art Academy”. The three pillars of the institution constitute its manifesto to remain a place dedicated to research, the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of the intersection between spirituality and culture.

After the opening of its library in 1609, the gallery “Pinacoteca Ambrosiana” was opened shortly after in 1618. Today it is compromised of 24 rooms with around 300 artworks by renowned masters from Italy and around the world. Amongst the most valuable elements of the collections are the paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci such as “Portrait of a Musician” (1485–1490), or Caravaggio’s “The Basket of Fruit” (1599). Another highlight of the collection is the cartoon of the fresco “School of Athens” (1509-1511) by Raphael, on view in the dedicated exhibition room “Sala del Cartone di Raffaello”, newly designed in 2019 by Italian star architect Stefano Boeri. Additionally to the vast collection of old master paintings ranging from Titian’s” Adoration of the Magi” (1557-1559) and Jan Brueghel’s “Vases of Flowers”, the institutions also houses artworks of artists from the 19th Century and early 20th Century such as Giandomenico Tiepolo and Emilio Longoni.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana has been closed, but its extensive digital resources offer the opportunity to explore the collection online on their website and their social media channels. The reopening of the museum is scheduled on the 30th of May.