A picture hanging above an oven in a pensioner’s kitchen is a Renaissance masterpiece worth £5 million.
The painting – “Christ Mocked” – is by Cimabue and was completed in 1280.
The owner had it hanging between her kitchen and living room, directly above a hotplate.
She thought it was just an old religious icon until it was seen by her local auctioneer in Compiegne, near Paris.
Cimabue painted eight pictures of Christ’s passion and cruxifiction.
This painting is thought to be part of a diptych – one of two hinged pictures.
Two others from the series hang in the National Gallery in London.
Early Renaissance art was strongly influenced by Byzantine works.
Expert Eric Turquin said: “There is no disputing that the painting was done by the same hand as other known works by Cimabue.”
It will be auctioned in Senlis, north of Paris, next month.