He found Antonio Forcellino, an Italian art restorer and historian and told him of the tennis ball, and something more horrifying.
"It wasn't the story that had scared me, but that it had been exposed to heating commonly found inside a middle-class home," Forcellino writes in his new book, "La Pieta Perduta," or "The Lost Pieta," published in Italy and due out in the United States next year.[...]
Forcellino said Herman Grimm, a noted Michelangelo biographer, saw the "Pieta" in 1868 and attributed it to the master. Additional evidence includes a letter in the Vatican library discussing a Pieta painting for Colonna, he said.
"I'm absolutely convinced that is a Michelangelo painting," Forcellino said.
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