Sunday, a 36-year-old man dressed himself as a disabled old woman and smeared the Mona Lisa with cake. He claimed to be a climate protester. The event gave us an idea:
What if the Mona Lisa became an NFT? How would that build up? This is what we’re exploring in this article. 👀
Turning an artwork into an NFT
An NFT (non-fungible token) is a unique token which is associated to a specific object. Generally, this object is digital, but it can also be physical.
In the case of a physical object, there are 3 ways to make an NFT out of this object.
a. Provide the NFT buyer with the associated object
When selling an NFT associated with a physical object, the vendor will sell the NFT (digital) as well as the object (physical). The NFT will provide proof of property regarding the object. However, the object will also be physically given to the buyer.
b. Add a microship inside the artwork
This one is not available yet; however, the theory would be to place a tokenized microship in the artwork (or object) in order to certify its authenticity. It is taking the previous option a step further. It can later become a requirement for resellers in industries such as luxury.
c. Digitalize the artwork and destroy it
Now, the ultimate option to turn an artwork into an NFT would be to digitalize it… and destroy the physical version to keep the digital one truly unique.
Let’s see how these options would fit in the case of the Mona Lisa.
Turning the Mona Lisa into an NFT
The Mona Lisa is not any artwork. Until the pandemic, the Louvre Museum (where the Mona Lisa is exhibited) received an annual 10 million visitors.
Mona Lisa is a public property. It belongs to the French government. For this reason, the artwork cannot be altered (through a tokenized microship) nor destroyed (if it was turned into a unique digital version).
Can it really become an NFT?
Digitally, it can. However, as a physical version will always exist and prevail on the digital one, no real NFT (unique version of the artwork) can be crafted without damaging the original piece.
The benefits of turning the Mona Lisa into an NFT
Even though the physical painting would remain, creating an NFT version of the Mona Lisa could be of great benefit.
Indeed, as we jokingly suggested in our tweet, selling parts of famous artworks could help funding museums and other public services.
NFT buyers are generally art-enthusiasts. For now, there is no real purpose in owning NFTs other than the pleasure of collecting them.
Famous artworks and ancient cultures are a great source of income for European countries. Having them evolve with society and technology could be a great financial and cultural asset. In his interview, Stéphane Distinguin explores this idea of selling the Mona Lisa following this web3 transition. He suggests that having artwork evolve with society and technology would bring back to Paris, France its cultural influence.
What do you think? Should the Mona Lisa become an NFT?
If that’s ever the case, would the Louvre Museum establish itself in the Metaverse?