When Marco is sent into apprenticeship with the young master, Michelangelo Buonarroti, much rides on his success. His father has worked very hard as a chemist so that Marco can have a better life, and the boy simply cannot let his family down. Armed with good advice, but more importantly, secret color formulas that his father has taught him, the boy has a good chance at success.
But then he meets the jealous senior apprentice Ridolfo, and before Marco knows it, he has been tricked into looking like a fool. Time and again, the older boy trips him up, until Marco is certain he will be sent home in disgrace.
When Michelangelo is summoned to Rome by the pope himself, he can only take one apprentice. Ridolfo has no intention of being left behind, but Marco knows the formula for a color Michelangelo can make good use of. When the master not only likes the gift, but demands the formula, Marco is trapped between wanting to go to Rome and betraying his father’s instruction to keep their secrets secret.
In bringing this story to life, Rick Jacobson and Laura Fernandez show a little-known side of the richest artistic era in the history of the world and one of the greatest geniuses of all time.