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National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room

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Paolo Woods, a photographer for National Geographic, took exclusive pictures of paintings on the walls of a secret room hidden under a trapdoor in Florence that experts believe contains lost Michelangelo artworks unseen for centuries. Some suspect they were done by Michelangelo as he hid there from the Medici family in 1530.


National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room
Although, some art experts disagree with the theory of the medieval graffiti origin, most of them have no doubt in their artistic importance.
National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room
The artist’s chalk drawing of a turned back male figure was discovered on one of the walls of the secret room (the photo above by Paolo Woods/ National Geographic). The sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
resembles a piece of the fresco by Michelangelo that decorates the interior, and most particularly the Sistine Chapel ceiling (the illustration below — Getty Images)
National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room
In 1975, Paolo Dal Poggetto, then director of the Medici Chapels museum in Florence stumbled upon a Renaissance treasure. While searching for a new way for tourists to exit, Dal Poggetto and his colleagues discovered a trapdoor hidden beneath a wardrobe near the New Sacristy, a chamber designed to house the ornate tombs of Medici rulers. Below the trapdoor, stone steps led to an oblong room filled with coal that at first appeared to be little more than storage space.
In the pictures above: the sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
on the wall of the secret chamber (leftward is the photo by Paolo Woods/National Geographic) resembles the unfinished sculpture assigned to Michelangelo (Getty Images)
On the walls, Dal Poggetto and his colleagues found what they believe are charcoal and chalk drawings from the hand of famed artist Michelangelo. Because of their fragility and a tiny size of the room, visitors have a restricted access to this space.
  • A rough sketch
    A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
    So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
    of a male on the wall of the secret room under the Medici Chapels.Photo by Paolo Woods / National Geographic
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti. The Resurrection of Christ (chalk drawing). Photograph courtesy Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2016
Dal Poggetto did his best to save the drawings. This being Florence, home to many of history’s towering Renaissance
The Renaissance is the period that began around the 14th century and ended at the late 16th century, traditionally associated primarily with the Italian region. The ideas and images of the Renaissance largely determined the aesthetic ideals of modern man, his sense of harmony, measure and beauty. Read more
artists, he suspected something valuable might be lurking underneath the layers of plaster. Experts worked hard spending weeks meticulously removing the plaster with scalpels. As the coating disappeared, dozens of drawings emerged, many of them reminiscent of Michelangelo’s great works—including fragments of a marble sculpture of David (finished in 1504), a fresco decorating the Sistine Chapel (finished in 1512) and a marble sculpture of a human figure adorning the tomb of Giuliano de' Medici in the New Sacristy above.
A rough drawing of a human body as soaring across the room wall (photo by Paolo Woods/National Geogr
A rough drawing of a human body as soaring across the room wall (photo by Paolo Woods/National Geographic) amazingly resembles the central figure in this Michelangelo sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
for The Fall of Phaeton. (Photo courtesy National Museum of the Academia Galleries of Venice)
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni designed the Medici Chapels in the Basilica of San Lorenz

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni designed the Medici Chapels in the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Florence. It was a funerary chapel of the family to whom the artist owed his career. In 1529 Michelangelo joined the republicans fighting against the power of his patrons. Michelangelo went to the aid of his beloved Florence by working on the city’s fortifications protecting against the army of Pope Clement VII, born Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici.

After ten months of fighting the city fell and the Medici were restored to power. 55 year old Michelangelo had to escape because of the Pope’s anger. The artist had disappeared for three months and during 500 years nobody knew where he had been. Michelangelo is supposed to find his shelter in the secret room under the Medici Chapel. The artist openly appeared only in November, 1530, after Clement VII had granted him an allowance to start working again without any punishment. His patrons wanted Michelangelo to accomplish his work in the basilica.

Leftward: the interior of the Medici Chapel.

One chamber wall bears these sketches of disembodied legs in various poses. The outline of seated li
One chamber wall bears these sketches of disembodied legs in various poses. The outline of seated limbs seems to be a study for the statue of Giuliano de' Medici, which perches on the ruler’s tomb in the New Sacristy above the hidden chamber. Photo by Paolo Woods / National Geographic
At the same time it is actually impossible to say with absolute certainty who performed this or that sketch
A study is an exercise painting that helps the painter better understand the object he or she paints. It is simple and clear, like sample letters in a school student’s copybook. Rough and ready, not detailed, with every stroke being to the point, a study is a proven method of touching the world and making a catalogue of it. However, in art history, the status of the study is vague and open to interpretation. Despite its auxiliary role, a study is sometimes viewed as something far more significant than the finished piece. Then, within an impressive frame, it is placed on a museum wall.
So, when does a study remain a mere drill, and when can we call it an artwork in its own right, full of life and having artistic value? Read more
on the walls of the chamber under the Medici Chapel. Some of the doodles on the wall are far too amateurish to be Michelangelo’s. William Wallace, a Michelangelo scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, is too skeptical.

The scholar assumes that Michelangelo was too prominent to have holed up in the lower-level room, and instead he would have been taken in by one of his other patrons. Moreover, the scientist suspects that the drawings were completed earlier, some time in the 1520s, when Michelangelo and his many assistants would have taken respites from laying brick and cutting marble for the New Sacristy they were building above.
This bearded visage looks like a face from the statue Laocoön and His Sons, a work of ancient art th
This bearded visage looks like a face from the statue Laocoön and His Sons, a work of ancient art that inspired Michelangelo. Photos by Paolo Woods / National Geographic and Eric Vandeville / Getty Images
"Separating one from the other is almost impossible," says William Wallace. Still, he adds that the mystery of who crafted the drawings does not take away from their value or the importance of the discovery.
National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room
National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room
National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room
National Geographic published photos of artworks by Michelangelo from a secret room
"The room evokes an emotional response among viewers lucky enough to see it. Standing within its four walls, dimly lit by a small corner window, it’s as if one is peering into the mind of Michelangelo, whose breathtaking artistry fills the building." - according to the article published in National Geographic.
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According to the materials on the official site of National Geographic and atlasobscura.com. The title illustration: Monica Bietti, the current director of the Medici Chapels museum, examines the sketches on the chamber walls while holding a book of Michelangelo’s work. Photograph by Paolo Woods, National Geographic.