• Notorious Art Forger Wolfgang Beltracchi Enters NFT World

  • Wolfgang Beltracchi, a German art forger who served time in prison, has entered the world of NFT.

    Beltracchi is recreating the world’s most expensive painting, Salvator Mundi, in the form of 4,608 NFTs on Ether.

    Wolfgang Beltracchi, one of the most notorious art forgers of all time, has entered the world of unforgeable non-forged tokens (NFTs).

    Beltracchi has created a new project, dubbed “The Greats,” a collection of 4608 NFTs on the ethereum blockchain.

    The artworks are recreations of the world’s most expensive painting, Salvator Mundi, and one of the most controversial works of art. The painting, believed to have been created by Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1490-1500), was sold at Christie’s 2017 auction for a record price of $450 million. It was sold to an agent of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    Beltracchi recreated the Salvator Mundi according to seven different eras in art history – High Renaissance (c. 1400-1550, starting with the work of Leonardo da Vinci); Post-Impressionism (c. 1885-1910, Vincent van Gogh); Surrealism (c. 1917-1950, Salvador Dali); Cubism (c. 1907-1914, Pablo Picasso); Pop Art (c. 1950-1970, Roy Lichtenstein); Factory Art (c. 1962-1984, Andy Warhol) and Beltracchi – according to the Greats website.

    Beltracchi has been re-creating famous paintings throughout his thirty-year career, but in the form of forgeries, meaning that he has recreated works by famous artists and sold them under their names, which are fakes.

    Beltracchi defrauded the art world of around €35 million between 1980 and 2011.In 2011, he was sentenced to six years in prison by the German authorities, but was released in early 2015, having served just over three years in prison. His wife, Helene, was also sentenced to four years in prison as an accomplice.

    Since his arrest, art museums, galleries and auction houses have banned Beltracchi from exhibiting and selling his artworks. The 70-year-old artist has now moved on to the NFT space.

    “The NFT marketplace provides a platform for artists to market themselves independently of the traditional art market mechanisms,” Beltracchi said in a statement shared Friday.

    Reproductions of Salvator Mundi

    As part of his NFT series, Beltracchi has recreated the Salvator Mundi 4,608 times in his style and in the style of the six ancient masters mentioned above.

    When asked why he chose Salvator Mundi for his NFT series, a spokesperson for Beltracchi told us.” Beltracchi is the only one who has the necessary skills to implement it. He has managed to deceive ‘art experts’ hundreds of times with his recreations of famous painters’ works.”

    But why would anyone buy the NFT of this notorious art forger? Because “he’s a highly skilled artist” and “the art looks fantastic,” the spokesman said.

    Not all of the 4,608 NFTs are currently on display on The Greats’ website. All of the pieces will only be revealed when the “8-10 day” sale begins, the spokesperson said.

    They said The Greats will have a “hidden sale.” That means buyers won’t know what NFTs they’re minting.To ensure the highest level of arbitrariness, The Greats said it’s using Chainlink’s Verifiable Random Function (VRF), a verifiable source of randomness designed for smart contracts. The purpose of using the Chainlink VRF is to ensure that NFTs are not “exploited” by parties such as miners, the spokesperson said.

    The Greats said it will also integrate The Graph’s real-time infographic tool on its platform. Users can query real-time sales data and get the experience of an actual auction, the spokesperson said.

    “That’s what’s possible with digital art today,” they said.” What you see on the canvas isn’t the only thing that matters. Everything around it, like the mechanics of the sale, the record of each owner and sale, the technical implementation, is also part of the art.”

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