Russia’s Hermitage to Sell Digital Copies of Art as NFTs

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The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, which houses one of the world’s major art collections, will auction virtual copies of five of its most famous masterpieces in August on the Binance NFT marketplace, the museum said in a press release.

The museum will sell digital copies of “Madonna Litta” by Leonardo da Vinci, “Judith” by Giorgione, “Lilac Bush” by Vincent Van Gogh, “Composition VI” by Wassily Kandinsky and “Corner of the Garden at Montgeron” by Claude Monet. It didn’t specify the exact date of the sale.

The initiative with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) will help the museum “provide better availability of the Hermitage’s collection” and demonstrate “the importance of the digitalization in art collecting,” the announcement said. 

Related: Shopify to Allow Merchants to Sell NFTs Directly Through Their Stores

Each NFT will be issued in two copies, one held by the Hermitage itself and the other going to the buyer. The metadata of the NFTs will include Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky’s signature, the time of the signing and certification that it was signed in the Hermitage.

“NFT makes the luxury things more available, yet, at the same time, exclusive,” Piotrovsky said in a statement, adding that the Hermitage will keep exploring what digitalization can do for the museum. “On these new technologies, we will base our new experiments,” he said. 

The museum has consulted with the Russian law firm LFCS to issue the tokens in compliance with Russian regulations, the announcement read.

Helen Hai, Binance’s head of NFTs, said in the announcement that the Hermitage’s participation in the nascent NFT market is “priceless” and sets an example for other museums. “Soon, we’ll see more projects developing this union of the blockchain tech and art,” she said.

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