Visitors will soon be able to see a long-hidden space inside the Medici Chapel in the Italian city of Florence. The walls of the small space contain drawings that some experts believe may have been created by the famous artist Michelangelo.
The secret room is small – 10 meters by 3 meters. Officials discovered the room in 1975 when searching for a way to make a new exit from Medici Chapel.
The museum’s then-director Paolo Dal Poggetto strongly believed that the drawings were by Michelangelo, said the current director, Paola D’Agostino. A debate over the issue began then and continues to this day.
D’Agostino suggested that experts of Michelangelo’s drawings did not believe he created the works at the time of their discovery 50 years ago. She added, “Others had a more moderate view, in the sense they thought that some could be by Michelangelo and others could be by followers. So the debate is ongoing.”
The room was used to store coal until 1955. Then it was closed and forgotten for years below a special kind of opening known as a trapdoor. The trapdoor was hidden beneath furniture. The drawings themselves were discovered under two layers of plaster – a substance used to make walls and ceilings smooth.
Dal Poggetto believed Michelangelo hid in the space to escape the anger of Pope Clement VII. The artist had supported a short-lived republic that overthrew the Medicis.
In the room, the artist drew for some of his projects. They include drawings believed to be the legs of Giuliano de’ Medici.
Starting on November 15, small groups of four people will be able to visit the room for about 15 minutes. Visitors will have to pay an additional $20 on top of the $10 charged for entry to the main museum.
The museum said it limits the number of visitors because of the need to reduce exposure of the artworks to light. At most, 100 visitors will be able to go to the room each week.
I’m John Russell.
John Russell adapted this story from AP and Reuters reports.
Words in This Story
furniture – n. chairs, tables, beds, etc.
exposure – n. the fact or condition of being affected by something or experiencing something