Italian Government prohibits sale of NFTs of Italian Renaissance paintings

Image - Doni Tondo: Virtual Uffizi Gallery/facebook.com

The Italian government have prohibited the sale of NFTs of Italian Renaissance paintings after Uffizi Galleries made only a small profit of €70,000 from selling Michaelangelo’s Doni Tondo (1505-06) NFT. The Michaelangelo NFT itself was sold for €240,000 to a collector in Rome. 

NFT production company Cinello signed contracts with four Italian art galleries, including the Uffizi gallery in Florence, in order to produce 40 encrypted digital art works (DAWs). The collaboration lasted 5 years and expired in December 2021, as reported by theartnewspaper.com.

The Tondo was the only NFT produced by Cinello during this deal. It is the only panel painting by Michelangelo Buonarotti that has survived till today and Michaelangelo’s only work in Florence. 

An Uffizi spokesperson has stated that the profit of the sold image reproduced as an NFT would be split in half between the company and the museum; “the Cinello copy [made] about €140,000 (on the €240,000 sale), so the Uffizi received €70,000 (along with Cinello).” The remainder, €100,000, went on “production costs” according to the Artribune website. 

The Italian government’s decision to halt the sale of NFTs of Italian Renaissance paintings stems from a debate around the legal ownership of artwork in Italy. La Repubblica newspaper have expressed concerns about “losing control of [our] heritage in a time when we are increasingly moving towards the metaverse”. 

However, other universities around the world have also made money from the sale of NFTs such as the British Museum’s sale of works by JMW Turner and Hokusai.


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Image - Annie Dabb
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Annie Dabb

From Newcastle originally, Annie is based in Manchester and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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