- Art & Culture
Ambrosian Picture Gallery
It houses the largest collection of Leonardo's sheets, the Codex Atlanticus, exhibited thanks to temporary thematic exhibitions
The Ambrosian Picture Gallery, named after the city's patron saint and originally created as a centre for study and culture, was founded in 1609 by Cardinal Federico Borromeo and inaugurated on 6 December of the same year. It was the first library in Europe to open to the public.
The library's collection was expanded through donations submitted by religious institutions and contributions from private collections. Today it possesses over 800,000 books (including 2,500 incunabula) and more than 35,000 manuscripts.
The Ambrosian Art Gallery is housed in the same building as the famous Ambrosian Library. It was founded by Federico Borromeo in 1621 to stand alongside the existing library, and was initially founded as a painting and sculpting academy.
The building was enlarged and transformed in various eras; the final arrangement of the architectural structures and the complete reorganisation of the new rooms were completed in 1966.
In the Gallery you can find works from the collection of Leonardo, Botticelli, Bramantino, Bergognone, Bernardino Luini, Titian, Jacopo Bassano, Moretto , Savoldo, Giovan Paolo Lomazzo, Caravaggio, Jan Brueghel, Cerano, Morazzone, Daniele Crespi, Anton Raphael Mengs and Andrea Appiani.
Interesting from a historical point of view is the production of copies of famous paintings, promoted by Federico Borromeo for educational and documentation purposes, such as the replica of the Last Supper by Leonardo, which was in extremely poor condition in the 17th century.