The Palazzo takes its name Brera from the German “braida” which indicates a grassy open space. It is built on the site of a convent of the Humiliati Order, the palazzo passed then to the Jesuits (1572) who in the following century entrusted its renovation to Francesco Maria Richini (from 1627-28).
Following the dissolution of the Society Of Jesus in 1772, it received a new institutional set-up to which, next to the Astronomical Observatory and the Library, founded by the Jesuits, the Botanical Garden in 1774 and the Academy of Fine Arts, in 1776, were added.
While the architect Giuseppe Piermarini saw to the building’s completion, the Accademia started to fulfill its function, according to the plans of the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, to distance the teaching of the fine arts from artisans and artists by subjecting it to “public supervision and public judgement”.
The world has changed dramatically since then, but the mission of the Accademia has remained unaltered and timeless: to support young artists from all over the world in their growth, guaranteeing them the tools and expertise necessary to face the complexities of contemporary life.
Today the Palazzo is the point of reference, the buzzing centre of the life of the Accademia, which, through the Presidency, the Management, the Secretariats and the administrative offices every year welcome students from all over the world and it is still the place of those who want to make art their livelihood. Many well-known artists have passed through its doors as students and as teachers. Adolfo Wildt and Arturo Martini, Lucio Fontana and Fausto Melotti, Luciano Fabro and Alberto Garutti are just some of the artists who endorse the close relationship between art and teaching. Perhaps artists are born and not made, but many have become who they are in Brera.