Michelangelo Masterpiece in Buffalo?

October 21, 2010 Updated Oct 21, 2010 at 7:04 PM EDT

By Kyla Igoe

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October 21, 2010 Updated Oct 21, 2010 at 7:04 PM EDT


BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - An unfinished painting of Jesus and Mary that remained behind a couch for decades may be a lost Michelangelo painting, and a scientific analysis of the painting shows that the claim may in fact be true. Martin Kober, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel from Tonawanda, says the painting has been in his family for more than a century when it was given to his great-grandfather.

"Many Americans and Europeans said it was impossible," said Kober. "Who is America to have a Michelangelo?

Kober began researching the painting back in 2003. He contacted various museums and art scholars from all over the world and according to Italian Art Historian Antonio Forcellino it's the real deal.

""I am totally certain that this is a Michaelangelo," said Forcellino.

Kober says the painting was willed to his great grand father's sister in law, who sent the painting to America in 1883. It is now being kept in a bank vault. Should the painting be a real work of Michelangelo, it could be worth as much as $300 million. Within the next few years, Kober hopes to restore the painting and display it in exhibitions in Rome and Florence.