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Hermitage Museum joins the NFT crowd, minting Leonardo paintings as NFTs

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, has announced that it will be selling several of its collections as NFTs. Some of the works the museum will be selling include paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh. The sale will take place on the Binance online marketplace at the end of August.

In a statement, the general director of the Hermitage, Mikhail Piotrovsky, said that the sale was “an important stage in the development of the relationship between person and money, person and thing,” and said that NFTs “create democracy, make luxury more accessible, but are at the same time exceptional and exclusive.”

Dubbed as “Your token is kept in the Hermitage,” the initiative aims to expand the museum’s digital reach and to “ensure a new level of accessibility to the Hermitage collections and emphasize the democracy of the museum, and emphasize the importance of digitalization as a new stage in the art collection world.”

It’s yet another sign that the NFT “buzz” is much more than a buzz. Earlier, Uffizi Galleries in Florence sold an NFT of a Michaelangelo for $170000. With traditional museums hit hard with the pandemic, the sale of their classical collections as NFT seems to point to a way to keep these art institutions afloat without having to sell art from their collections. Also known as deaccession, the practice, or even the mere mention of plans to do so, drew criticism from the art world at large.


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