An elderly woman in France had no idea that the painting she had hanging above a hotplate in her kitchen was a lost work by an artist from the Renaissance.
Benvenuto di Giuseppe, who went by the nickname Cimabue ("bullheaded"), is a highly regarded Italian painter who lived in the late 13th century.
He created a series of eight paintings in 1280, which portrayed scenes from Jesus' passion and crucifixion. These individual paintings fit together with hinges (a type of painting known as a "polyptych") to portray the overall story. Another one of these paintings had also been lost, but was discovered and returned by a British aristocrat who found it among his family's possessions in 2000.
In total, there are only 11 known Cimabue paintings in existence.
What happened now?
An older woman, whose name was not released, had one of the eight paintings from Cimabue's series. She knew that it was old but had no idea how valuable it was. According to the BBC, she had it hanging in her kitchen over a hotplate.
But there's no denying that this is indeed a Cimabue. In addition to the style similarities in age, art experts have proven that it was originally part of the same piece of wood as the others. This particular panel was known as "Christ Mocked." Including this painting and the one found by the British Aristocrat, only three have been recovered. The other two portray "The Virgin and Child with Two Angels" and "The Flagellation of Christ."
"You can follow the tunnels made by the worms," art expert Eric Turquin explained to the Art Newspaper. "It's the same poplar panel." He added that they had "objective proof it's by the artist."
Despite being kept in a kitchen, CNN reported that the painting was still in excellent condition.
The painting will go up for auction on Oct. 27 at the Actéon auction house. It is expected to sell for up to $6.6 million.