Michelangelo may soon enter the metaverse.
According to a recent press release, the Vatican is working with the metaverse company Sensorium to bring some of its priceless paintings, frescoes, and sculptures to Web3. Initial reports suggest that the Vatican’s metaverse museums will be viewable through virtual reality headsets and a desktop setting.
Officially, Sensorium partnered with the Vatican-backed non-profit Humanity 2.0 Foundation. Led by the Vatican’s Father Philip Larrey, Humanity 2.0 is dedicated to using collaborative techniques and technologies to promote “human flourishing.”
According to Father Larrey, the new Sensorium partnership will help “democratize art” by allowing more people to view and study the masterpieces in the Vatican’s collection. Father Larrey also believes Sensorium’s cutting-edge technology will help advance Humanity 2.0’s mission.
There are also hints that NFTs will play a part in the Vatican’s metaverse projects. However, Vatican officials said their ambitions are “social” rather than “commercial.” The Vatican also hinted that NFTs may be tied to “tickets” rather than manuscripts or works of art.
Sensorium and the Vatican have yet to reveal specific details on when its metaverse museum will open.
Old Masters and Museums Make Way for the Metaverse
With roughly six million tourists per year, the Vatican is arguably the most significant museum to enter Web3. However, many traditional art curators have already begun experimenting with the potentials of NFTs and the metaverse.
In fact, a few of Italy’s most celebrated art museums recently made NFTs of their most prized paintings. Called “Eternalizing Art History,” this NFT collection included the works of Renaissance titans like Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. A few participating museums included Florence’s Uffizi Galleries and Milan’s Pinacoteca di Brera.
It has also become more common for museums and art galleries to include temporary NFT exhibits. Recently, Rarity Sniper reported on the NFT site SuperRare opening an IRL gallery in NYC. Seattle also made news when it opened an NFT-focused museum in Belltown.
Outside the USA, the Dubai Mall recently unveiled a generative NFT art experience in the Infinity des Lumiѐres center. Art NFTs also made a big impression in 2022’s Art Dubai festival in Madinat Jumeirah.
While most of these Web3 experiments allow visitors to view and experience NFT art, there may come a time when galleries offer digital collectibles for sale. Rarity Sniper recently discovered the luxury brand Harvey Nichols opened an NFT retail store in Hong Kong.
People who visit Hong Kong’s “HN NFT Vault” could view and buy blue-chip NFTs. Currently, a few collections in this unique art gallery include CryptoPunks, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and Doodles.
When institutions like the Vatican and Uffizi are getting into Web3, it’s clear NFTs are having a huge impact on the art world.