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As Four Major Italian Museums Sell NFT Reproductions of Masterpieces, Some Say Digital Editions Could Be Better Than the Real Thing

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Cash-strapped museums suffering from a drop in visitor numbers and income during the pandemic may have found a lifeline in the form of a new partnership with a tech company and a commercial gallery.

Four major Italian museums, including the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, have signed onto an ambitious project that will see them sell editioned digital replicas of priceless masterpieces from their collections as NFTs.

The project debuted at London’s Unit gallery, in an exhibition titled “Eternalizing Art History,” which displayed digital replicas of six famous Italian masterpieces by the likes of Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. These authorized digital copies are shown on digital screens set within handmade replicas of the artworks’ original frames. Each of the digital works (dubbed DAWs by the tech company that made them, Cinello) has been certified on the Ethereum blockchain and can be traded as an NFT. They are available in editions of nine—a common edition size for sculptural works—that are priced at between €100,000 and €250,000 ($114,000–$284,000)…

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