The great Italian Renaissance master, Michelangelo painted some of the most spectacular works of art in the world. He was also a sculpter, inventor, architect, chef, engineer and pretty much pursued any and all things that caught his interest.
But for a period of time, he had to hide from an angry Medici family in a secret room in Florence.
It was summer, 1530, when Michelangelo had to make himself scarce for a few months. For three months, he hid in a chamber under the Medici Chapels in the Basilica of San Lorenzo. He was 55 years old and was living in fear for his life because he supported the revolt that overthrew his patrons, the Medici family.
The room had a trapdoor, no windows and measured only two by seven meters. Yet, even in this stuffy place, Michelangelo was at work sketching on the walls with charcoal and chalk, possibly leaving behind a self-portrait. He also worked on studies for his ongoing projects that included a revision to David and Sistene Chapel scenes.
Eventually, the Medici family pardoned him. He resurfaced and was permitted to continue with their monuments. He even worked in the area right above the room in which he’d concealed himself.
Here’s another look at the room…
In 1975, the chamber’s walls were stripped and it was only then that this part of Michelangelo’s life was discovered. Since then, art historians and their guests were able to get special permission to view the space and see the sketches. Plans, however, are in the works to open the former cell to the public. Hopefully, the first visitors can see how he spent his time down in his hiding spot later this year.
Michelangelo is such a huge figure and influence from the Renaissance. His time on the Earth ended four centuries ago and we are still finding out new things about his life and immense creativity.
Do you know any interesting facts about Michelangelo’s life? Leave them in the comments!