Couches are often traps for keys, loose change, remote controls and other common household items. But in Buffalo, New York, a family discovered that an old painting tucked behind their couch is likely a Michelangelo, worth an estimated $300 million dollars. And I thought it was cool to discover a $20 now and then…or my Wii controller.
The pricey painting had been laying low behind the couch for approximately 27 years, according to the New York Post. So how did it end up there? It was apparently knocked off its post by a tennis ball, and eventually simply wrapped up and stowed away, rather than properly re-mounted.
The Kober family nicknamed the painting “The Mike”, because it was always rumored to be an authentic Michelangelo. Wait, what? So the family knew it may be real and just sat on it, literally? This is potentially one of the greatest art discoveries of the century, and these people just joked about it? There has to be a better word for weird.
“The Mike” has been analyzed by Italian art restorer and historian Antonio Forcellino, who believes it to be authentic. The infrared and X-ray examinations of the painting depict many alterations made by the artist as he changed his mind, and an unfinished portion near the Madonna’s right knee. Unfinished portions demonstrate that the painting was never a copy of another painting, as no patron pays in the Renaissance for an unfinished copy.
So how did the family obtain this multi-million dollar masterpiece?
It is likely Michelangelo created the painting around 1545 for his friend, Vittoria Colonna. It was then passed to two Catholic cardinals, eventually ending up with German baroness Villani, who willed it to her lady-in-waiting, Gertrude Young. Gertrude Young was Kober’s great-grandfather’s sister-in-law and sent the work to the States in 1883.
Now the painting sits in a bank vault, and has generated enough attention to be mentioned on “The Early Show”, when Jeff Glor remarked,
“My mother just moved to Buffalo. She should check the boxes extra special just to make sure!”â€¨
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