Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Salvator Mundi” painting, known for its record price of $450.3 million, will be turned into an NFT in a partnership between ElmonX and Bridgeman Images.
Considered the world’s most expensive painting ever sold in an auction, the artwork depicts Jesus Christ holding a crystal orb. Developers will reveal details of the NFT sale on August 12.
“[As] the world’s leading specialists in licensing fine art, cultural, and historical media for reproduction, [we] are delighted to collaborate with ElmonX, experts at the forefront of NFT art creation,” Bridgeman Images said in a statement.
In an official statement on August 8, ElmonX revealed that the upcoming NFT collection would be divided into two categories — Leonardo da Vinci | ElmonX Salvator Mundi Original and Leonardo da Vinci ElmonX Salvator Mundi Artist Proof.
ElmonX announced the minting of 660 ElmonX Salvator Mundi Originals for sale at £150 (approximately $191) each. These digital artworks will only be accessible through public sales, with buyers having the option to get them using credit cards or Ether (ETH).
The next set of artworks, ElmonX Salvator Mundi Artist Proof, will be sold for £1,100 (approximately $1,403) using the same payment methods as the first collection. However, unlike the other version, the company will create only 13 pieces of the Artist Proof collection.
Many investors have criticized the collections, saying that the NFTs will only grant buyers the right to display the high-resolution image of the Salvador Mundi painting and nothing more.
“The only possible way this makes sense is. 1. the painting comes with the nft. 2. The nft is NOT the art and instead is used as a form of proof of authenticity. You can’t just screenshot a painting of a long dead artist and call it an nft,” wrote Mike Parisella, a digital collage artist, on platform X.
ElmonX and Bridgeman Images have collaborated on various projects in the past. Notably, these companies have transformed renowned artworks like “Mona Lisa” (1503), “Starry Night” (1889), “The Thinker” (1904) and “Nymphéas” ((1907) into NFTs.
The Mona Lisa was sold in 330 editions on the ElmonX website, priced at £150 (approximately $191) each. They also offered an “artist proof” version, including an NFT of the painting and a print for £900 (approximately $1,148), limited to 10 editions. One of these ElmonX Artist Proof Mona Lisa pieces was recently resold on OpenSea for 3.7 ETH (around $6,764).
Having the Artist Proof edition also means getting a high-quality physical pictorial print. This print matches the size of the original Mona Lisa and is an accurate detail reproduction. Each Artist Proof edition, whether physical or digital, comes with its number on the back of the Mona Lisa.
In November 2017, Christie’s New York listed the artwork with an estimate of over $100 million, the highest ever for an Old Master painting. Backed by a third party, likely Taiwanese businessman Pierre Chen, the painting was sold for $400 million ($450.3 million with fees) to an anonymous phone bidder representing Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The current whereabouts of the painting remain unknown.
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