Possible Michelangelo Painting Found Worth 300 millionJuxtapoz // Tuesday, 12 Oct 2010
Unexpected art find of the century? Well, tell us what you’d do with a possible Michelangelo painting worth $300 million hanging above your sofa.
A Buffalo, New York family could have more than spare change hidden behind their sofa. A dusty old painting stored behind a family couch could be a Michelangelo worth up to $300 million (£190 million) and potentially one of the art finds of the century, according to an expert.
The unfinished painting of Jesus and Mary that has been hanging on their wall may actually be the real deal and will now undergo scientific analysis.
According to the UK Telegraph:
The unfinished painting of Jesus and Mary has long been in the family of US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober, who lives in Buffalo, New York.
He and his relatives nicknamed it "The Mike" because of a family legend that it had been painted by the Renaissance artist.
The painting had hung in the Kober home but was knocked off the wall by a stray tennis ball 27 years ago, so it was wrapped it up and put behind the couch.
In 2003 Mr Kober decided to research the origins of the 25in by 19in work and eventually took it to Antonio Forcellino, an Italian art restorer and historian.
Mr Forcellino is convinced it is a genuine, painted depiction of the Pieta, Michelangelo's famous sculpture of the body of Jesus on his mother's lap, which is housed in St Peter's Basilica.
In his book "The Lost Pieta," Mr Forcellino said: "I had assumed it was going to be a copy. In reality this painting was even more beautiful than the versions hanging in Rome and Florence. The truth was this painting was much better than the ones they had."
Mr Forcellino claims that infrared and X-ray examinations showed changes made by the artist and an unfinished area of canvas close to the Madonna's right knee.
He said: "The evidence of unfinished portions demonstrate that this painting never, never, never could be a copy of another painting.
"No patron pays in the Renaissance for an unfinished copy. I'm absolutely convinced that is a Michelangelo painting."
According to Mr Forcellino's investigation, a letter in the Vatican library points to the painting having been done by Michelangelo for his friend Vittoria Colonna in around 1545, nearly half a century after the young artist sculpted the Pieta.
The painting later belonged to a German baroness who left it to a lady-in-waiting, who was the sister-in-law of Mr Kober's great-grandfather. It arrived in America in 1883.
The family have placed it in a bank vault but it will be up to experts to determine whether it is indeed genuine.