Leonardo’s $450M Salvator Mundi Returns As An NFT

August 10, 2023

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

One of the art world’s most prestigious and valuable paintings, Salvator Mundi, credited to Leonardo da Vinci, is set to take a digital leap into the realm of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). 

Here’s what we know:

Last auctioned at a staggering $450.3 million at Christie’s New York, it remains the priciest artwork ever sold. The painting, renowned for its portrayal of Christ with a crystal orb, is undergoing the digital transition under the combined efforts of the prominent image licensing company, Bridgeman Images, and digital asset platform, ElmonX. The sale’s specific terms are anticipated to be unveiled on 12 August.

This venture isn’t the first for the two collaborators. Past NFT masterpieces they’ve produced feature iconic art like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Rodin’s The Thinker, and Monet’s Nymphéas 1907. The Mona Lisa NFT saw 330 editions retailing at £150.00 each, as detailed on ElmonX’s official site. 

The platform also offered a premium “artist proof” version pairing the NFT with a print, priced at £900.00, of which only 10 were available. Recently, one such Mona Lisa artist proof was reauctioned on the OpenSea NFT marketplace, fetching a handsome 3.7 ETH, equivalent to $6,764.

Bridgeman Images, in their statement, expressed excitement about the partnership, terming it a “unique and exclusive opportunity to construct top-tier NFTs using Bridgeman Images’ extensive collection.” Although the financial intricacies of the collaboration are kept under wraps, a spokesperson for Bridgeman Images did share that their licensing process to ElmonX mirrors their typical commercial projects.

However, the NFT market remains volatile. Digital artist Beeple made headlines when his NFT artwork, Everydays-The First 5000 Days, raked in a colossal $69.3 million at Christie’s in 2021. Yet, the subsequent year witnessed an 83% plunge in global NFT sales as reported by sector tracker NonFungible.

Salvator Mundi’s own journey, spanning centuries, has been anything but straightforward. From constant debates over its true attribution to a myriad of sales, its narrative is rich and multi-layered. In a notable event from 2017, the artwork was introduced at Christie’s New York with an estimated value surpassing $100 million. 

After a fervent bid war, it went under the hammer for $450.3 million to an anonymous buyer, later revealed as Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The current location of the painting remains a mystery.

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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