Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” Reemerges as NFT

The controversial and renowned painting “Salvator Mundi,” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, has been transformed into an NFT, marking a new chapter in its history and validation.

The painting “Salvator Mundi,” which has been the subject of debate and is believed to have been created by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, has been valued at $450 million and has now been transformed into an NFT (Non-Fungible Token). The company Bridgeman Images, specializing in art licensing, in collaboration with ElmonX, a firm expert in digital assets, has carried out this transformation.

This is not the first time these companies have worked on the digitalization of masterpieces. Previously, they had created NFTs of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker,” and Claude Monet’s “Nymphéas,” as reported by The Art Newspaper.

The “Mona Lisa” was sold in 330 editions at £150.00 each, while an artist’s proof version with an NFT of the painting sold for £900.00 in a limited edition of 10. Recently, one of these artist’s proof “Mona Lisas” was resold on the NFT market OpenSea for $6,764.

The financial details related to “Salvator Mundi” – part of the collection of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (MBS) – remain confidential. However, the parties involved have expressed that this collaboration provides a “unique and exclusive opportunity to create high-quality NFTs based on Bridgeman Images’ vast collection.”

The painting was offered at Christie’s New York in November 2017 for “over $100 million,” the highest estimate ever made for a painting by an old master. It eventually sold for $400 million ($450.3 with fees) to a telephone bidder on behalf of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

In 2021, author Ben Lewis also created an NFT of “Salvator Mundi,” depicting a handful of dollars instead of a crystal ball. Additionally, a late and considerably damaged copy of the work was sold for €1 million at an online auction, against an estimate of €10,000 to €15,000.

The painting, measuring 63.2 by 51 centimeters and made on poplar panel, was described as from the “Italian School, circa 1600, after Leonardo da Vinci.” If this date is correct, it could not have come from the artist’s workshop, who died in France a century earlier.

Despite traces of restoration and “numerous small losses” identified by independent restorer Bernard Depretz, the painting is considered to be in very good condition.

The extraordinary price paid for this specimen reflects the ongoing allure of the “Salvator Mundi” from the Cook collection, now owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after having been purchased in 2017 at Christie’s for $450 million by Prince Mohammad bin Salman.