The film traces Michelangelo's life from the age of 13 to his death at 88 but deals mainly with the five years during which he painted the Sistine Chapel. Pope Julius II has commissioned the work in the hope that it will serve as an immortal symbol of his enlightened papacy. Yet both his money and remaining years are finite, and his constant haranguing of the artist to finish his painstaking work is the source of an ongoing war of words between them.
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