A once-secret room, down the steps and under the Medici Chapels Museum in Florence, Italy, is still holding secrets. Who is the artist behind the sketches there?
"Some people think this is the room Michelangelo sheltered in in 1530 when he was under death threats from Clement VII," said Paola D'Agostino, director of Bargello Museums.
Referred to as Michelangelo's secret room, the actual truth behind who drew the figures nearly 500 years ago has not been settled.
A popular belief is that Michelangelo hid in the space for about two months in the year 1530. He was evading a death penalty declared by Pope Clement VII after the artist joined a revolt against members of the Medici family.
"So people believe that this was the very room cited by sources as being the Michelangelo rescue place, refuge," D'Agostino said.
That's what the museum's then-director believed when the space once used for coal storage was discovered under a trapdoor in the mid 1970s.
The drawings were found under two layers of plaster. Some experts see a style similar to Michelangelo works such as the Sistine Chapel.
D'Agostino notes that not all are convinced the drawings are the work of the man known as "the divine one."
Others think these drawings were probably made in the 16th century not by Michelangelo's hand but by some of his followers. So it's hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. For the last 50 years, the room has been severely restricted — generally open only to art scholars. But starting this month, the general public — four at a time — will be allowed inside.
"I think the argument will be reinvigorated as we open the room, the public comes back and we start to do more analysis in due course," she said.
The museum expects about 100 visitors in the room per week starting Nov. 15.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com