Cardinal Federico Borromeo established the historic Ambrosian library, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, in 1618 by donating his collection of artwork. La Pinacoteca was established to provide free cultural and aesthetic instruction to anybody with an aptitude for the arts or intelligence. This organization was developed to serve as a template and support for the Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, active from 1621 to 1776.
Despite the Academy's dissolution, the Ambrosiana Gallery's holdings have grown over the years and contain many noteworthy works. For example, Leonardo da Vinci's collection of writings and paintings, 'Codex Atlanticus,' has been on display at the Federiciana di Ambrosiana since 2009.
How to explore Pinacoteca Ambrosiana?
- The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana now contains 24 rooms that are organized chronologically from the Cardinal Federico collection until the turn of the 20th century.
- More than 1,500 wood, canvas, and copper pieces may be found within the galleries.
- The collection contains 248 designs created by various masters, like Raffaello and Leonardo, whose great board of the School of Athens is the most significant cardboard piece ever created during the Italian Renaissance.
- 1750 technical and scientific drawings can be found in this ancient library.
- There are currently paintings by Leonardo da Vinci (like the Portrait of a Musician), Bramantino, Ambrogio Bergognone, Bernardino Luini, Titian, Jacopo Bassano, Moretto, Savoldo, Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo, Jan Brueghel, the Elder, Cerano, Morazzone, Daniele Crespi, - Anton Raphael Mengs, and Andrea Appiani among other artists on display at the Ambro.
- You may also see Raffaello's designs for the fresco School of Athens, Caravaggio's Basket of Fruits, Botticelli's Madonna con Bambino e tre Angeli, sometimes called Madonna of the Pavilion.
- Another attraction located just a few blocks from the Ambrosiana Pinacoteca is the Duomo or Milan Cathedral. It is a massive Gothic cathedral in the city's historic core and its most recognizable landmark. The Cathedral is clad in pink and white marble, and its many towers and spires are topped with statues that look out over the city.