Russia’s Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow to Trial Blockchain Art Patronage Project


Art is the expression of human creativity. It is appreciated, not only for beauty but also emotional power it might have attached. Works of Da Vinci and Van Gough continue to inspire and amaze generations of people. However, this has always required a fair bit of maintenance and upkeep. Galleries and museums have, in the past, been dependent on the support provided by kings and, later, governments. That has steadily been changing as more public and private patronage is been sought and provided. Yesterday, 15th of November saw the introduction of a novel scheme to that end.

According to reports, the prestigious State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia, has launched a blockchain-based art patronage scheme. “My Tretyakov, ” is set to give individuals and enterprises an opportunity to make small donations and become an artworks patron. This money will be collected towards the digitization of various items in the prominent gallery’s vast collection.

This unique proposal has been developed by the gallery in conjunction with RDI Digital, a business innovation collective. They intend to make use of the blockchain technology to assist with assigning and managing the entire patronage structure. In a statement released by the gallery they noted, “The donation amount is still under discussion. The system randomly selects which storage unit (electronic copy of an object of art) will be considered digitized with the help of a particular patron, and links the name to the object. The connection of the name or company name to the digitized exhibit is fixed using blockchain technology.”

This will be further discussed and refined in the next couple of days. The idea is set to be presented at the VII Saint Petersburg International Cultural Forum, with the idea of exploring a new form of public involvement in art. It is hoped that this will be a trial run for a whole new avenue of funds for the entire Russian art scene.

Where Abstracts Collide

It should be remembered that this is not the first time that art and blockchain are meeting. Earlier in June this year, the world’s “first” cryptocurrency art auction was held. This was for the fractional ownership sale of “14 Small Electric Chairs”, an artwork reported being worth over $5 million, by the famous “pop artist” Andy Warhol.

Following on its footsteps, there is news of a Picasso work that will be auctioned by using a similar blockchain concept. Maecenas, a startup that specialises in creating tamper-proof digital certificates that are linked to works of art on blockchain, will be providing this and are going to be the gateway for trading them on an exchange. Similarly, Blockchain has also been used in a variety of ways in the art world. It has come into play when looking to verify copyright, ownership, valuation, and authenticity of different works.

Any news of a collaborative effort should be looked upon with hope and positivity. Art is an important way to preserve history, a window to what we were and what we can be. This effort of a future technology being utilised to preserve the past is indeed intriguing.

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