With each passing day, the Metaverse vision keeps getting clearer. Museums around the world are embracing the concept, and in a few years, most museums (if not all) will have at least one digital copy of their cherished art pieces.
The rendition of physical art into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), as well as the creation of new ones, has marked the beginning of this evolution. NFTs are going to be a big part of the Metaverse vision. Prominent museums like the State Hermitage in Russia are at the forefront of this movement.
The State Hermitage is currently the largest museum in the world. Located in Saint Petersburg, Russia, its foundation can be traced back two millennia to 1974. The massive structure holds over three million works of art, some of which include works by notable artists like Rafael, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Picasso.
First Steps Into The Metaverse
In 2021, NFTs took the world by storm. It was during this blazing period in September that the State Hermitage made its first sales of digital renditions of its most iconic works of art. The museum raised over $400,000 from selling five NFTs inspired by its most famous masterpieces.
Two months after these sales, the museum launched its first exhibition in the virtual sphere. This digital exhibition, called the ethereal aether, showcased 38 NFTs within a digital adaptation of the State Hermitage. This exhibition proved that NFTs are here to thrive. It was a very different experience from a physical visit to the museum, where visitors are conditioned to observe and not touch. The virtual meeting allowed visitors all over the world to interact with the showcased nonfungible arts.
The Future of Artworks in the Metaverse
In an interview with Cointelegraph, Dmitry Ozerkov, the State Hermitage Museum’s head of contemporary art department, expressed his enthusiasm for NFTs and the Metaverse. He predicted that all museums would have a digital twin to include in the metaverse.
We are in a digital era. Rather than sit back and do nothing, the best museums in the world are working on creating digital renditions of themselves. Ozerkov said that these digital twins would not only increase the financial position of these museums; it will also increase the exposure of the art pieces and allow many people around the world to observe these pieces in the virtual world.
Ozerkov further stated that he is already working on creating a digital version of the legendary Russian Museum. The nonfungible art, named the Celestial Hermitage, will be exhibited sometime this year. He said that anyone around the world could key into a virtual Hermitage event and do anything from playing or interacting to adding more information to the artworks, all without touching anything. This allows more people to visit the Hermitage without jeopardizing the security and value of the iconic works housed within its walls.
Transcending Market Dynamics
Ozerkov pointed out that the Hermitage’s interest in NFTs is not about financial gains but instead exploring the artistic values of NFTs.
The contemporary art world is vast. The picture painted by Ozerkov involves selecting a few of the existing works in the market for exhibitions and investigations to determine the value of the art they offer. Nowadays, people that deal in NFTs are basically about the profits that could be made, but not the art.
Just like The Ethereal Aether, the celestial Hermitage will be a sensation to watch out for when it’s finally curated. It is still uncertain if the latter will be free to visit for a while before prices are announced, as the ethereal exhibition was visited online for free for a month.
Many are closely watching to see how the Celestial Hermitage project will unfold. The project signifies the commitment of the renowned museum to the NFT industry.
Dmitri Ozerkov’s vision mirrors that of many arts and NFT enthusiasts. The success of the project would be a win for the entire industry, and it would provide an efficient blueprint for other institutions to follow.
Other museums looking into the possibility of NFTs and the Metaverse being the future of the contemporary art world include the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, as well as the British Museum. The initiative, which started in Florence, gave rise to similar projects being pulled off by other major museums. The interests of these major museums will bring forth real legitimacy to the nonfungible/digitized masterpieces. Also, the birth of NFT on museums will open its way for bitcoin investing and trading on some of the classical arts.