By Antonio Sánchez Solís
Vienna, Jan 27 (EFE).- Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss will be offered to collectors as 10,000 unique digital excerpts, otherwise known as NFTs, the Belvedere Museum in Vienna announced on Thursday.
Collectors will be able to snap up a slice of the masterpiece, which will sell at 1.85 euros ($2.06) a piece, as part of the museum’s first NFT drop which has been conducted in collaboration with investment fund arteQ.
“The NFTs from The Kiss have been created as collector’s items. We believe that this offer is interesting for both art lovers and NFT collectors, and we want to attract a wide range of interested parties,” Belvedere press officer Irene Jäger told Efe.
NFTs, which are created using the blockchain technology that props up cryptocurrencies, are also financial assets.
“The conversion of digital reproductions into virtual originals opens up new forms of participation that, in financial terms, should be taken seriously, yet can also be viewed playfully,” Director of the Belvedere, Stella Rollig, said in a statement.
If the gallery sells all 10,000 NFTs it will net 18.5 million euros (20.8 million dollars).
“Museums have to continue to find new sources of income to fulfill their mission,” Jäger said.
Cultural institutions have been severely affected by pandemic restrictions, and the gallery has recorded a dip in the number of visitors since 2020.
Prospective buyers can log their interest in the NFTs on thekiss.art and from February 9 will be granted permission to purchase minted NFTs, the process through which digital art becomes part of the blockchain, which guarantees authenticity and protection from forgeries.
The official release of the digital assets has been slated for February 14 and the Belvedere has launched the initiative under the slogan: a digital declaration of love.
But not everyone has been seduced by the idea of a digital embrace.
“I am very romantic, and I think a digital kiss is the least romantic thing that can exist. You can see it on a small or large screen, but nothing compares to that tenderness,” Marta Zamora Troncoso, a 22-year-old Philosophy graduate who is visiting Vienna, says pointing towards the iconic painting.
“I see it as one more way to speculate and get money from anywhere,” she adds.
Robert agrees. The 21-year-old American says he would not fork anything out for this product.
“You can see the fine details with your own eyes, which I think you don’t have on a screen,” he adds. EFE