In a story that should make Antiques Road Show jealous, an elderly French woman has learned that the small picture hanging over a hotplate in her kitchen is actually a masterpiece worth millions of Euros.
The picture has been identified by specialists as the work of 13th-century Florentine painter Cimabue, who was Giotto's tutor. It was one of eight panels depicting Christ's passion and crucifixion. Two others are known to survive, one in Britain's National Gallery and another in the Frick Collection in New York.
The owner, who thought it was just an old religious icon, took it to a local auctioneer to have it valued; he called in specialists who have said there is no doubt about the work and that it is likely to bring 4 to 6 million Euros when it is sold October 27.
The National Gallery panel also spent hundreds of years in obscurity; it was found by a British nobleman who was clearing out his family's estate in 2000.