The Rembrandt Heritage Foundation wants to open a virtual Rembrandt museum. To raise money for it, the foundation will sell 8,000 digital pieces of the Night Watch for 200 to 300 euros each in cryptocurrency. They are not just selling digital images of fragments of the masterpiece, but Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs – unique properties that cannot be copied. Ownership is also recorded in a database.
Moreover, these are pieces of an image of the Night Watch as it must have looked when the artwork left Rembrandt’s studio in 16642, in its original size and colors. Pieces were cut off in the 18th century, but thanks to a 17th-century copy, we know what the complete painting originally looked like. Rembrandt expert Ernst van de Wetering, who passed away last year, digitized, remastered, and restored all works by Rembrandt together with the Rembrandt Heritage Foundation. That will now be used again.
The buyers cannot choose which piece they buy. So they just have to wait and see what part they get. But with the purchase of a fragment (under a digital cloche), they “not only become the owner of their own piece of The Night Watch, but also the founder of the MetaRembrandt Museum, which will open later,” the initiators said. “This is the only place in the world where all paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn have been remastered, digitally optimally restored to their original state, and can be admired in high definition.”
Owners of an NFT will get free access to the digital museum with the 306 paintings of the great master.