Florence, Italy, is preparing to unveil a long-hidden chamber adorned with the artistic legacy of Michelangelo Buonarroti, offering a rare glimpse into the private world of the renowned Renaissance artist. The secret room, stowed beneath the Medici Chapels, has remained veiled from the public eye until its forthcoming opening on 15 November.
Discovered during renovations in 1975 conducted to create a new exit for the venue, the chamber unveiled a unique collection of intricate human sketches, in charcoal and sanguine (chalk or crayon of a rust color, traditionally derived from red iron oxide), hidden under two layers of plaster, believed to be the work of Michelangelo himself. The space, measuring 10 meters in length, 3 meters in width and 2.5 meters in height, provides an intimate setting for visitors to explore the lesser-known creative endeavors of the celebrated sculptor and painter.
This place grants today’s visitors the unique experience of being able to come into direct contact not only with the creative process of the maestro but also with the perception of the formation of his myth as a divine artist.Francesca de Luca, Curator of the Museum of the Medici Chapels
Historical accounts suggest that this concealed enclave served as a hiding space for Michelangelo during a tumultuous period in 1530 when his life was threatened by Pope Clement VII. Seeking refuge within the confines of this clandestine retreat for several weeks, the artist found solace amidst political turmoil, later resuming his artistic pursuits in Florence before eventually relocating to Rome.
Under the direction of Paola D’Agostino, director of the Bargello Museums, the “time-consuming, constant and painstaking” restoration efforts have ensured the preservation of Michelangelo’s delicate works within the secret chamber.
While the chamber opens to the public on 15, the visiting schedule will only be a trail run, only available until 30 March 2024. Moreover, to ensure the preservation of the fragile work, maximum 4 people at a time, for a 15-minute slot, will be allowed in. The room will be closed on Tuesdays and Sundays and a maximum of 100 visitors per week will be allowed a glimpse of the priceless artwork
Tickets for this exclusive exhibition will be available for purchase at €20, in addition to a €10 entry fee to the Museum of the Medici Chapels and a €3 reservation fee.