ow cool would it be to wake up one morning and find out that a painting which spent the last 30 years behind your couch, is an original work of art painted by none other than the great Renaissance artist, Michelangelo? If experts are right, this old unfinished painting of Jesus and Mary, that the Kober family affectionately call 'The Mike,' may indeed be that piece of art.
The painting, which has been passed down many generations, spent a number of years hung in the family's living room. About 27 years ago, the Kober kids were playing with a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. Instead of hanging it back, the adults decided to roll it up and tuck it behind a sofa.
It was not until 2003 when Martin Kober, freshly retired from the US Airforce, was put to work by his father to investigate whether there was any truth behind the family lore that 'The Mike,' was indeed an original Michelangelo.
Mr. Kober dug out the history of the painting, contacted Renaissance experts and even visited museum directors in Italy. Along the way, he met with Italian art restorer, Antonio Forcellino, who while skeptical, decided to examine it. At best, he expected it to be a copy - and in pretty bad shape given that it had been exposed to the heating in the house for so many years.
When he saw it, he was speechless. Not only was it in excellent condition, but it was also better than some of Michelangelo's paintings that currently hang in Italy's museums. Convinced it may real deal, he had a scientific analysis done, which proved that it might be very plausible.
Infrared and X-ray examinations showed that the artist made many alterations, changing his mind as he painted - and the fact that there is a small unfinished portion further proves that it is an original, for nobody in that era would buy an incomplete copy. Additionally, the Kobers have an ownership history that goes back many centuries, proving that Michelangelo could indeed have painted it for one of his friends, in 1545.
The find is so valuable that some more experts will have to weigh in, before the art world is thoroughly convinced - However, if they are, it could mean a payday of anywhere from $20mm USD to $300mm USD for the Kober family and, an incredible new addition to the world of art.
Born in the Italian City of Caprese, Michelangelo was one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance - a period when art and sciences flourished. While he started his life as a sculptor and has some very famous pieces like the 'Pieta', a marble statue of Virgin Mary grieving over dead Jesus and the colossal David, that sits outside the town hall in Florence, Michelangelo is best known for his painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel inside the Vatican - A project he undertook with great reluctance, since he did not want to be known as a painter!