I am a poor man and of little worth, who is laboring in that art that God has given me in order to extend my life as long as possible. – Michelangelo

Talk about unlikely! Most of us are happy to find the remote control or enough change to buy lunch behind the sofa. Some of us might even find lunch behind our sofa.

The evidence is mounting and it looks like this just might be the genuine article. Wow! We’ve read a lot of commentary observing that this “Pieta'” doesn’t look like it came from The Master, but if you’ve ever known a famous artist, or even an unknown artist from his or her early days into their more mature work, there is always a significant difference.

kober with pieta

It will be Awesome if this is finally authenticated as a genuine Michelangelo original, not just for Mr. Kober, but for art aficionados everywhere! What are the chances that an 470-year-old original Michelangelo has been stored behind a Buffalo, NY family’s couch for almost three decades? It seems they’re pretty good.

one of the family sons decided to find out if the painting was an authentic Michelangelo.

“The Mike,” as the Kober family affectionately calls it, depicts a slumping Jesus in the lap of his mother Mary. Sometime in the 70′s “they wrapped it up and tucked it away behind the sofa.” where it has remained for 27 years or so.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an artist,sculptor and an architect.
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was an artist,sculptor and an architect.

But in 2003, one of the family sons decided to find out if the painting behind their couch was an authentic Michelangelo.

“David” is one of Michelangelo’s most beloved, studied and admired sculptures.

Three years of analysis by experts in physics, chemistry, art history and art restoration using techniques from infrared fluorescence and  X-rays to reflectography, radiography and dendrochronology have concluded that the 63x48cm wooden panel is an exceptional original Michelangelo.

Some of the most convincing evidence includes discovery of the tempura technique that was used, brush stroke techniques unique to Michelangelo, composition of the preparatory base on a board that was cut in the early decades of the 16th century and no later than 1525.

Even a 470-year-old fingerprint found on his wood panel which matches another finger print found on the Pauline Chapel in the Vatican, which was fresco’ed by Michelangelo between 1538 and 1540.

Rare Michelangelo drawings that have come up for sale in recent years have sold for as much as $20 million. “The Mike” could fetch a pretty penny if findings of its authenticity are upheld.


The New York Times: “It’s absurd to compare works done by Michelangelo at age 25 (The Pieta), age 33-36 (the Sistine ceiling), or even age 61-65 (the Sistine Last Judgment) to one done at age 70+ –the Kober Pieta. Better to compare it and the relative qualities of his early The Pieta to later Pietas like the Rondanini done at age 84-89. Similarly, it’s hard to compare early paintings like the Sistine ceiling or the Todo in the Uffizi which have been beautifully cleaned to the Kober painting which is dirty and uncleaned, presumably under 465 years of grime.”

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo

“Too, it seems that we must take into account Michelangelo’s own philosophical, religious, aesthetic and emotional growth as he turned to Mannerist styles when we look at the Kober painting. As I do so and look at the later Pietas I can see the possibility that Michelangelo would have painted this Pieta which is marvelous in its own right.” – John Mark Krenkel

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