Michelangelo’s Secret Room to be Opened

It is believed that for three months Michelangelo Buonarroti lived in a secret hideaway within the Medici Chapels located next to the San Lorenzo Church. In 1530, creator of the all-impressive David, supposedly took refuge in a hidden room to escape the Medici’s vendetta on him for voting in favour of the rebellion which eventually lead to the family being temporarly exiled.

In this small room (7 x 2 metres) with a hatch door leading to the San Lorenzo Basilica, Buonarroti allegedly created charcoal drawings on the wall (see full photo gallery), inspired by his solitude and boredom. The drawings included, depictions of the New Sacristy and old commissioned pieces and what appeared to be rough ideas for a new work of art.

The room was initially discovered quite by chance, in 1975 by the director of the Chapels, Paolo del Poggetto during building renovations. Today, under management of Paola d’Agostino, also director of the Bargello Museum, news has been announced that the room is expected to be open to the public starting in 2020.

During the ‘70s Poggetto felt there could be something important hidden within the walls and decided to strip the plaster, revealing the drawings believed to have been made by Michelangelo. The designs included images of the sculpture; Laocoön and His Sons, which the young Buonarroti studied in Rome in 1506.

For years the room and sketches were only accessible to scholars and other artists; starting in 2013 touch screens feature these images making them visible to the public.

There are currently many rumours and doubts as to whether Michelangelo was in this room. By opening it up to the public, the truth will finally be settled: Is Michelangelo really the author of these drawings?

To read more in Italian visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site. (karen gee)