A Nightwatch NFT? Foundation aims to fund virtual Rembrandt museum

Photo: with permission Julius Rooymans

An Amsterdam foundation is planning to digitally cut Rembrandt’s most famous painting, the Nightwatch, into 8,000 pieces and sell them as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) for up to €260 apiece.

The Amsterdam-based Rembrandt Heritage Foundation, which organises exhibitions of digital copies featuring Rembrandt’s 300 or so known works, is planning to sell digital bits of the painting to raise money to develop a virtual reality museum Metarembrandt.com.

Money raised by the NFTs will be used to establish the VR museum in honour of Rembrandt expert Ernst van de Wetering, the foundation’s website states. Van de Wetering supported the foundation’s work, which was often sneered at by museums, the Volkskrant said in its report on the plan.

The NFTs will be based on the original version of the Nightwatch, put together by Van de Wetering and which includes parts cut off over the years since it was completed in 1715.

Once sold, the NFTs can be traded via the OpenSea platform and others will be added if the founders approve. The cost of each NFT, measuring almost 2.5 centimetres square, has not yet been finalised but will be between 0.1 and 0.15 ethereum, the foundation’s chairman Edzard Gelderman told the NRC.

There are other NFTs of Rembrandt’s work in circulation and the Rijksmuseum is not a party to them either, a spokesman told the Volkskrant ‘The Rijksmuseum has an open data policy, and that means everyone can use rights free images for this sort of purpose,’ a spokesman said.

The foundation’s touring exhibition was in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam while the Rijksmuseum was closed for renovation, and has also been seen in Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Wellington.

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