Michelangelo hid under the Medici Chapel in Florence for 3 months during a period of political turmoil, occupying his time by sketching on the walls with charcoal. His whereabouts were a secret for almost 500 years until the museum director stumbled upon the drawings in 1976.

Michelangelo’s Hidden Drawings

In 1530, to escape the wrath of the Pope, Michelangelo holed up in a tiny secret room under the Medici Chapel of the Basilica di San Lorenzo. The artist had been working on the lavish tomb when all hell broke loose in Florence, and he was forced into hiding. With nothing but time and a little charcoal on his hands, he covered the bare walls with some prisoner graffiti.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni designed the Medici Chapel as an elaborate domed mausoleum for his patron family, but for three months he hid underneath it and filled the walls with drawings—of himself, of Christ, and even, some experts believe, sketched reproductions of images from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which he had completed in 1512.

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7 thoughts on “Michelangelo hid under the Medici Chapel in Florence for 3 months during a period of political turmoil, occupying his time by sketching on the walls with charcoal. His whereabouts were a secret for almost 500 years until the museum director stumbled upon the drawings in 1976.”

  1. mootmutemoat

    Makes me feel soooo much better about what I did in my lockdown….

  2. The_God_of_Abraham

    I’ve always been amazed at stories like this. Like, how can humanity go 500 years and then one day go, “oh hey, there’s a room here in this building that’s super famous and I guess no one has been curious what’s behind that door until now”?

    How can any single person–much less 500 years worth of them–curate the Medici Chapel and not know about something like this?

  3. Scoundrelic

    3 months?

    The smell must have been horrendous.

  4. steepleman

    Amazing how they one man did so much traceable back to himself, yet most basically left nothing behind.

  5. Azathoth90

    *Under* the chapel? Like…in the sewers?

  6. MorsesTheHorse

    This isn’t the story I heard… Michaelangelo lived in a sewer where he and several other artists learned from their master and practiced their craft in an effort to change the world.

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