If you do not know that something existed before you find it, does it quality as lost treasure? Or found treasure? Can something be lost if you never knew it existed?
In Buffalo, New York, a family had a very old painting hanging in the living room over the family couch. Sometime during the 1970’s, some of the rambunctious children were playing ball in the living room and knocked the painting from its wall mount. The picture was wrapped and placed behind the couch were it has remained for 30+ years.
You can see the actual picture here.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Martin Kober was asked to research the history of the painting. There had been rumors in the family for years that it was an original Michelangelo painting given to his grandmother. Half-heartedly, he contacted auction houses and Renaissance art scholars in search of an historian that could verify the painting’s origin.
His search to find someone to help in the identification and verification led him to Antonio Forcellino, an Italian art restorer and historian. Forcellino’s skepticism quickly faded as he examined the picture. He has since written a book published in Italy and called, “La Pieta Perduta,” or “The Lost Pieta,” due out in the United States next year.
Imagine the thrill of discovering that Grandma’s painting is a Michelangelo. It’s not just the enormous wealth of money, although the value of this particular painting is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. It is now safely locked away in a vault until the family decides what they want to do with it.
Lost treasures, found treasures and artifacts hidden in the recesses of attics and hanging on living room walls. This is the stuff that movies are made of. What’s in your attic or right before you eyes? Is there a Michelangelo in your midst?
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or la bellezza è negli occhi di chi guarda, in Italian. Some people would glance at Michelangelo’s Pieta in awe and wonder. Others would say “it is a nice painting” but in the end, it is a true treasure found and in fact, the find of the century.
Michelangelo created the Pieta as his vision of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus on her lap after the Crucifixion.