The Medici have headed to the south of France for a family reunion.
It will be a week-long Renaissance picnic of ribald merriment, volleyball, group photos, and intrigue.
All the thieving aunts, murderous uncles, despot grandfathers, and illegitimate cousins will swing down from the family tree to pitch tents in the countryside, roast infidels around the campfire, and jockey for supremacy under the stars.
If you are a Christian, yet alone a Medici, in the 16th Century, the world is your proverbial stained-glass oyster.
And while the Medici frolic, plot, and cavort, the reigning Pope adjusts his rocket-shaped mitre and passes his golden shepherd’s staff rhythmically from hand to hand like a ballroom dandy.
It is good to be pope, especially in the Renaissance: artists are ripe for the plucking, money is no object, and God calls all the shots.
Being the pipeline to eternal salvation carries its perks.
The Pope is off for a week-long tour of mausoleums, basilicas, and gelato.
Building monuments to oneself on behalf of the All-Mighty is such an awesome mission statement.
The Pope whistles “Salve Regina” as he locks the door to the Vatican.
Michelangelo holds his breath.
Can it be?
Have the dual handcuffs of politics and religion slipped off his wrists, if only for a week?
He lets out a hoarse whisper of “Hallelujah” and begins to run.
He jets down the stairs, sails down the streets, beehives to his studio.
The musk of creativity spews off his body and fills the darkened room to every cobwebbed corner.
Time stands still as he strips the Madonna of her beatific smile, hurls the apple out the garden of Eden, and wildly massacres form and function into color and passion.
He has one week to truly live.
He has waited and prayed for this moment every day of his life.
Throwing open the wooden shutters, he comes face to face with his soul for the very first time.