A retired pilot in Western New York state may have unknowingly enjoyed a lost Michelangelo masterpiece in his living room for years. The unfinished painting of the Virgin Mary holding the body of Jesus is certainly by the hand of the Renaissance master, according to art historian Antonio Forcellino, who wrote the new book, "La Pieta Perduta" which translates as "The Lost Pieta."
The painting was passed down through generations to the pilot. He is a descendant of a lady-in-waiting of a German baroness who had given her employee the work.
In his book, Forcellino says Michelangelo created the painting in 1545 and it was first mentioned in records a year later. He claims X-rays provide further proof of the work's authenticity.
The owner plans to exhibit the painting in Italy next year. There are no immediate plans for a sale.