Street artists, digital artists, NBA players and DJs have all gotten in on the NFT craze. Even luxury brands like Hublot and Jacob & Co. have minted their own tokenized pieces as the new digital age takes over the world--but is there still room for the classics?
Italy’s Uffizi Gallery says yes, and so do NFT buyers. The storied museum in Florence, Italy, is home to some of the most important works for the classical age. Now, it’s turning some of those most-prized possessions into non-fungible tokens, the first of which, Michelangelo’s painting “Doni Tondo” the holy family (1505-06), just sold for €140,000 ($170,000).
According to a report by ArtNet, the move is a means for the important art house to raise some much-needed funds after a hard 2020. The Uffizi partnered with Cinello on the project, an Italian company that developed technology to craft high-end digital facsimiles of the famous paintings. Proceeds from each NFT sale are split equally between the Uffizi and Cinello.
Buying an NFT of a Michelangelo is not the same as buying the Michelangelo outright. NFTs are unique digital tokens representing a piece of digital art. Using blockchain technology, NFTs files are non-interchangeable tokens that verify ownership and authenticity of a given digital asset, and each file of a fine art piece from the Uffizi comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed by Uffizi director Eike Schmidt.
Many NFTs on the market are digital-first creations and oftentimes looping video clips. Cinello recreates each of its fine paintings in all their true dimensions to be displayed in the digital realm. The likeness is striking, featured in a post to Cinello’s Instagram. The company is also working with the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice and Milan’s Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, with works such as drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci and Giovanni Bellini up for grabs.
See more of the fine art NFTs, what Cinello calls “digital artworks” or DAWs, on the company’s Instagram, and read more about the Uffizi’s jump to digital in ArtNet.