Controversial $450M da Vinci Artwork to be Sold as NFT

Credit: Getty Images

The world’s most expensive and controversial painting ever sold, the Salvator Mundi, is making its debut as a non-fungible token.

The Salvator Mundi is a discovered artwork attributed to “Leonardi Da Vinci and associates” that sold for $450.3 million at Christie’s New York in November 2017, the highest price ever paid at auction. The physical painting, which depicts Christ holding a crystal orb and was the subject of a recent Netflix documentary ‘The Lost Leonardo,’ is currently in the collection of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia — though it has vanished from public view.

But for fans of the work, the painting is now being transformed into an NFT that will be minted by Web3 platform ElmonX in collaboration with Bridgeman Images, an international image licensing firm. The mint will take place on August 12th, with the terms of the sale to be announced.

The two companies have already partnered on several NFTs of classic artworks, including Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and others. The Mona Lisa NFTs were sold in 330 editions for the cost of just under $200. Some have resold on OpenSea for as much as $6,764.

Bridgeman Images specializes in licensing fine art, cultural, and historical media for reproduction. They license to advertisers, publishers, filmmakers, and designers across all industries. The company said in a statement that they were excited to collaborate with ElmonX to create “high-quality NFTs” based on their “vast collection.”

Like the whereabouts of the physical painting, the financial specifics of the deal remain unknown.

Art Museums Take to Web3

For fans of the Salvator Mundi and its growing lore, the NFT drop from ElmonX and Bridgeman Images is a fun way to own a own piece of the story. But ElmonX and Bridgeman Images aren’t the only ones bringing classic works of art to Web3 audiences. At Rarity Sniper, we’ve covered several stories about galleries and museums embracing Web3 to launch innovative products and events. Here are three of the top stories.

First, two weeks ago The British Museum partnered with French Web3 startup LaCollection to offer NFT collectibles in The Sandbox metaverse. As way to share its collection with a wider audiences, the museum will create its own immersive virtual space in the decentralized metaverse.

About a year ago, WISEKey International Holdings sold a cubist painting by Pablo Picasso called “The Magic Violin” as an NFT. The NFT purchaser received the original artwork, a holographic NFT version, and a live broadcast of the NFT in two different museums simultaneously.

Finally, around the same time, four major Italian art museums debuted an NFT project called “Eternalizing Art History.” It featured six replicas from famous Italian artists, including pieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. The NFTs were priced between $114,000 and $284,00 a piece.

More and more, the traditional art world appears to be embracing Web3. We’ll have to wait until August 12th to see if Salvator Mundi NFT collection is popular with collectors. But the Salvator Mundi has become more than just a painting — it is story morphing into a legend —and we know Web3 folks tend to like a good tale. At Rarity Sniper, we’ll be on lookout for updates.