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A museum of international stature, the Pinacoteca di Brera was officially established in 1809, although an initial heterogeneous collection of works had already been in existence since 1776-and expanded in subsequent years-with educational purposes, alongside the Academy of Fine Arts desired by Maria Theresa of Austria. The corpus was in fact meant to constitute a collection of exemplary works, intended for the training of students. When Milan became the capital of the Italic kingdom, the collection, at Napoleon's behest, was transformed into a museum intended to display the most significant paintings from all the territories conquered by the French armies. Brera therefore, unlike other great Italian museums, such as the Uffizi for example, was not born from the private collecting of princes and aristocracy, but from political and state collecting. Beginning in the 19th century, partly as a result of the suppression of many religious orders, paintings requisitioned from Lombard churches and convents flowed into it, to which were added works of identical provenance taken from the various departments of the Italic Kingdom. This emergence explains the prevalence in the collections of sacred paintings, often of large format, and gives the museum a particular physiognomy, only partly mitigated by later acquisitions. The Pinacoteca brings together some of the greatest masterpieces by Italian and foreign artists from the 14th to the 19th century, such as Piero della Francesca (Montefeltro Altarpiece), Andrea Mantegna (The Dead Christ), Raphael (The Marriage of the Virgin), Bramante (Christ at the Column), Caravaggio (Supper at Emmaus), as well as Tintoretto, Giovanni Bellini, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Francesco Hayez. In 1976 and then again in 1984 twentieth-century paintings and sculptures became part of the collection, thanks to the donation of Emilio and Maria Jesi, whose collection includes, among others, masterpieces by Picasso, Boccioni, Modigliani, Arturo Martini, Marino Marini, Morandi, Carrà, and de Pisis. The corpus of twentieth-century works is expanded
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