Secret room with drawings by Michelangelo will be open to the public


One secret room containing unpublished drawings made by Michelangelo in 1530, will be open to the public for the first time from November 15th in Florence, Italy. The room, in which the famous Renaissance painter was hidden for two months, is located below the Medici Chapels.

Presenting the walls full of figures drawn with charcoal and rust-colored crayonsthe place was discovered by chance, in 1975. At the time, the then director of the Medici Chapels Museum, Paollo Dal Poggetto, wanted to create an alternative exit to the enclosure.

Looking for a place to put the new door, he discovered a trapdoor hidden under a wardrobe, which led to a room previously used to store coal. The underground space, which had only one window, had been closed in 1955but it left the head of the museum curious.

(Source: Bargello Museum/Disclosure)

Dal Poggetto decided to clean the space and remove the plaster that covered the walls, when he came across a pleasant surprise. The secret room was covered in dozens of drawings, attributed by the expert to Michelangelo, due to their characteristic features, referring to the work of the Sistine Chapel.

Running to survive

What was Michelangelo doing hidden in the secret room, 10 m long, 3 m wide and 2.5 m high? According to the museum’s former director, the Italian artist used the place as a hideout, around 1530, to escape the death sentence ordered by Pope Clement VII.

A member of the Medici family, the then head of the Catholic Church was furious because of the painter’s collaboration with the government of the republic established in Florence, after the powerful group had been expelled in 1527. With the family regaining control of the city, Michelangelo was considered an enemy and sentenced to death.

(Source: Bargello Museum/Disclosure)

Thus, he had to remain hidden for a few months, part of them in the secret room. He would have taken advantage of the time to sketch his future projects on the wallsincluding faces and more body parts that appear in other works by him, although some scholars dispute this possibility.

After the period in which he was at risk of being killed, Michelangelo obtained forgiveness from the Medici and finally managed to escape confinement, resuming his work in freedom. The artist lived in Florence until 1534, when he moved to Rome.

How much does the visit cost?

The ticket to visit the secret room with unpublished drawings by Michelangelo in Florence costs 30 euros, the equivalent of R$156 at the exchange rate of the day. The ticket also includes entry to the Medici Chapels Museum, but it is worth noting that visits are limited to 100 people per week.

The reduced number of visitors is a measure taken to reduce the exposure of the works to lighting. Reservations will be available until March 2024.

The article is in Portuguese

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