NFT world offers solace to infamous art forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi

TL;DR Breakdown

  • Wolfgang Beltracchi, notorious German art forger, ventures into the world of NFTs.
  • The forger is creating 4,608 NFTs of Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the world’s most expensive painting. 

The unforgeable world of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) is gearing up to welcome its newest contender, the infamous German art forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi. 

The controversial artist is recreating the world’s most expensive painting, Salvator Mundi, under a new project dubbed ‘The Greats.’ The project will see the creation of 4,608 NFTs on Ethereum, based on seven different eras and styles of seven old art masters. 

NFT collection to make history in the world of art

Beltracchi’s new project will be the first digital fine art collection, taking the audience through a digital journey of art history. The prolific art forger will channel the style of seven art masters; Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Roy Lichtenstein, and himself, Wolfgang Beltracchi. 

Further, Wolfgang will be implementing art styles from seven different eras to create a truly unique art concept. 

The Greats will feature 4,608 recreations of Salvator Mundi, one of Leonardo’s art pieces. The piece is the world’s most expensive painting. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, bought the artwork for a record $450 million during a 2017 auction held by Christie’s in New York. 

The Greats collection will be divided into over 30 individual series, which will all be revealed in 8-10 days in a hidden sale. 

Details of the ‘hidden sale’

All 4,608 digital art pieces will be displayed only when the sale goes live. According to Beltracchi’s spokesperson, the sale will be hidden in that buyers will not have any idea of the NFT they are minting. The Greats will use the Verifiable Random Function on Chainlink to maintain the tokens’ arbitrariness. 

Additionally, the project will mimic an actual auction experience by using The Graph to incorporate live infographics. This way, buyers will be able to question live sales data, as they would in an actual auction. 

Who is Beltracchi, anyway?

Beltracchi has hit the headlines severally in the world of art during his forgery career, which spans more than 40 years. The infamous artist has been recreating famous paintings through forgery since 1980, conning the art world approximately $40.5 million. 

He was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to six years in prison the following year. His wife, Helene Cologne, was also charged as his accomplice and handed a four-year jail term sentence. However, Wolfgang was released in early 2015. 

Wolfgang Beltracchi claims that the traditional art elite is out to bury him and his work. Upon his arrest, the who’s who in the art world have been working to ensure the forger’s works are inaccessible to the public. Beltracchi cannot exhibit and sell his art in museums, auction houses, and galleries, making it difficult for ordinary people to obtain his original artworks. 

Thus, the con artist has turned to NFTs to offer unrestricted access to his works. He maintains that ‘the creation of digital art offers an almost unlimited scope to develop an artistic idea and live it out in full.’

About the author