Michelangelo Buonarroti, or Michelangelo, is one of the most admired and mysterious artists in history. When the room where he stayed for two months is opened to the public for the first time in centuries, some of his secrets will soon be revealed.
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The room in question is located under the church of the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence. The Renaissance master spent two months there in 1530 to escape the death sentence imposed by Pope Clement VII. This sovereign papacy was a member of the Medici, who were at odds with Michelangelo after participating in the Florentine Republic. During this rebellion, the powerful family was temporarily expelled from the Italian city. The Medici’s return to power left the artist, then 55, in hiding until he finally received a pardon from the Pope.
During this period of isolation, Michelangelo is said to have made numerous charcoal and chalk drawings on the walls of his room. As the artist usually does not sign his works, it is difficult to confirm the originality of these paintings with certainty. But the general opinion is that most of them were by the Italian master, owing to their resemblance to some of his iconic works.
The existence of these paintings was not known until 1975. Paolo Dal Pochetto, director of the Medici Chapels at the time, discovered them while looking for a suitable location to build a new shop for the museum. The 10 meter long and 3 meter wide room has a trap door hidden under a cupboard that resembles a prison.
Until now, this room was accessible only to historians and art researchers. Visitors will be allowed from November 15, but only in groups of four. A restrained device intended to better protect the room and the relics it contains. Francesca De Luca, curator of the Medici churches, announces in a press release that the public will have the opportunity to discover an area of ”exceptional evocative potential.” And he adds: “On its walls there appear to have been numerous portraits of figures, most of them of a monumental scale, with signs testifying to great clearness of conception. [de la part de Michel-Ange]».
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