March 24, 2023

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Da Vinci's controversial photo sold digitally by NFTs

Da Vinci’s controversial photo sold digitally by NFTs

Other riots broke out around La Bella Principesa (1495-1496), a portrait that some believe can be attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. In late April, an image of the work was sold as NFT, a non-fungible token. According to the two selling companies, Holoverse and Scripta Maneant, this is the first Da Vinci work to be sold digitally. An anonymous art collector using the pseudonymModeratsArt is now in the digital possession of La Bella Principesa. The artwork was purchased from the NFT marketplace MakersPlace with the cryptocurrency Ethereum, The cipher unit is commonly used in the art worldin the amount of approximately 100,000 euros.

Through ‘smart contracts’, it is proven that the business is in the possession of the anonymous buyer. Under this contract, the owner owns the URL of the online repository of the image within the blockchain technology. This is a network of thousands of computers where an overview of the file owners can be seen. In case La Bella Principesa The NFT also gives its bearer a holographic version of the work encrusted with crystals. The owner of the original drawing has given permission for the NFT version of the artwork. Shown in the drawing is Bianca Sforza, the illegitimate daughter of Ludovico Sforza, a member of a Milanese Renaissance noble family.

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Swiss safe

The deal is more than remarkable because there are doubts about the authenticity of the original work. This has major consequences for the value of the original image, but also for the digital copy. The drawing has been in a Swiss vault since 1998 and is no longer available to researchers. That year, the artwork was sold to art dealer Peter Silverman on behalf of an anonymous collector at a Christie’s auction for more than €22,000. He had a strong impression that he was a real da Vinci. Martin Kemp, the well-known Da Vinci expert, also agreed with this and later wrote the book La Bella Principessa: the story of Leonardo da Vinci’s new masterpiece (2010). But famous British art forger Sean Greenhalgh, who was in prison between 2007 and 2010, also claimed to be the creator of the work. In the art world, opinions about the identity of the creator are divided based on the images found.

Tap the puzzle

Digital copies of large and often vintage artworks have been sold in recent years via the NFT marketplace. In some cases, the physical work is destroyed, so that the digital copy is of greater value. This is not the case with La Bella Principesa, given that the authenticity of the work has not yet been confirmed. For the buyer, that’s not important either, says Craig Palmer, director of MakersPlace. puts in art newspaper He points out that the image’s controversial history only adds to the NFT’s appeal. He suspects that in this case, NFT buyers could take advantage of the mystery surrounding the drawing without having to expose it to the researchers.

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