Painting rejected as a $25 knockoff may be a $26 million work of art

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A picture's worth a thousand words -- or, in this case, maybe $26 million.

A painting of the Virgin Mary that was once attributed to a lesser-know Renaissance painter may actually be the work of the highly lauded artist Raphael, according to CNN.

Apparently, the British Institution in London acquired the painting in the early 1800s under the belief it was one of Raphael's works.

For years, the painting was exhibited as if it was the real deal, until it was eventually reassessed and declared to be the work of another painter, Innocenzo da Imola.

After its status as an imposter was discovered, it was auctioned off for $25 -- the equivalent of roughly $2,500 in today's terms.

The piece remained undiscovered until recently when art historian Bendor Grosvenor of the BBC show "Britain's Lost Masterpieces", which looks for valuable works of art in local public art collections, spotted it while on a search for unrecognized treasures in the U.K.

Though cast in poor lighting and in desperate need of a cleaning, Grosvenor immediately noted that the Madonna's image had undeniable similarities with Raphael's other creations.

Due to the quick turnaround time the show demands, the painting has not yet officially regained its status as a Raphael, but if it does, the piece's worth will escalate to around $26 million.

"Finding a possible Raphael is about as exciting as it gets," Grosvenor said in a statement. "This is a beautiful picture that deserves to be seen by as many people as possible."

If you wish to behold the painting with thine own eyes, it is currently housed in the National Trust for Scotland's Haddo House, where we're sure it's anxiously awaiting its true appraisal.

RELATED: Check out these artists, who use alternative canvases for their work:

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World body painting festival
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
An artists touches up artwork on a model during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model takes photographs during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A model displays ultraviolet light paint during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An artist uses ultraviolet light paint on a model during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
Artist use ultraviolet light paint on models during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model takes photographs during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses for photographers during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
An artists touches up artwork on a model during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
Models pose during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader
A model poses during the World Bodypainting Festival in Poertschach, Austria, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader TEMPLATE OUT
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