• The novel begins with introduction of characters and setting in Florence, Italy, in the 15th century.
• The central character is 13-year-old Michelangelo Buonarroti with a single minded love of art in general, sculpture in particular.
• Michelangelo is accepted into the Guild Hall of Signor Ghirlandaio who will pay him a small stipend which overcomes his father's objection.
• Michelangelo and Ghirlandaio have different philosophies about art yet the older man recognizes budding genius in the young student.
• Michelangelo is treated as though he knows nothing about art and given boring tasks like preparing paints and surfaces.
• On his own time, he borrows (without Ghirlandaio's knowledge) his teacher's files and copies drawings to learn his own mistakes.
• Later he learns that Ghirlandaio knew of his activities all along but wanted to allow him to develop his own style.
• Michelangelo starts painting frescoes which he considers to be lifeless...
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