June 12, 2008

The Medici Chapels and Michelangelo’s Hideout

Posted in museums at 1:27 pm by classicalmusic

Michelangelo’s Hideout

I am back in Florence again, my favorite Italian city.  A visit to the Medici Chapels is one of the “musts” in Florence.  Very grim on the outside, they are opulent and exquisite inside, and everyone goes to see the Medici tombs sculpted by Michelangelo with his beauties:  Day and Night, Dawn and Dusk.  However, the chapels hold a secret that not too many people know about.  If you are in the know and ask for a special ticket, you are allowed to enter what was, for three days, Michelangelo’s hideout.

During the many fights and intrigues of the members of the Medici family, Michelangelo managed to get on the wrong side of them, and, frightened that he would be killed, he looked for a refuge.  Inside one of the chapels he found a trap door in the floor that led to a small underground hideaway.  And there, with only a torch and no food or water, he hid himself for three days till he felt it was safe for him to leave and run.  While there, with the black pitch from his torch, he drew on the walls of this dungeon.  Today, at certain hours, a limited number of visitors are allowed to go down into this hideout, which is only about ten meters long and three meters wide, and view these sketches, made in the dark.  They are amazing!  It makes you feel like you have gotten inside his head!

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