This collaboration was an epic one: a few months ago, Christie’s London decided to boost the sale of an extremely rare drawing by Leonardo da Vinci by collaborating with Italian crypto artist duo Hackatao. How can the 15th century meet the 21st century?
London’s famous auction house – which is getting closer and closer to the world of Crypto Art and NFTs, partly thanks to the intuition of Noah Davies, Specialist, Post War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s New York – asked Hackatao to bring the “Head of a Bear” of the Italian Renaissance genius from around 1480 to life by commissioning an original work.
Leonardo da Vinci’s “Head of a Bear” was offered as the main lot in the exceptional auction held last night 8 July 2021 at Christie’s in London, fetching £8,857,500 compared to a pre-sale estimate of £8,000,000-12,000,000. The result sets a new world record for a drawing by the artist and is the fifth-highest price ever achieved for an antique drawing at auction.
And while the tiny but precious Leonardo drawing was being sold in London, other auctions – also record-breaking – were taking place in parallel on the SuperRare platform, where 4 of Hackatao’s works were – and still are – being fought over by fierce crypto collectors.
As we write, in fact, the auction is still underway for the piece commissioned exclusively by Christie’s, “Hack of a Bear”, which comes to life thanks to Augmented Reality with the majestic head of a bear, and which has gone around the world on all social platforms and is on display at the Museum of Crypto Art – MOCA on the Arium metaverse with an exhibition curated by Eleonora Brizi.
The work has received 12 bids over the last three days, now reaching the current bid of 155 ETH made by the collector behind the pseudonym @Kribarat.
Other collectors can instead find in their wallets and be the lucky ones who have won “HACK of a BEAR – The Artist” (30.03 ETH), “HACK of a BEAR – The Architect” (42.952ETH) and “HACK of a BEAR – The Scientist” (30.08 ETH) all paying homage to the Master of Masters, Leonardo da Vinci.
Noah Davis, Specialist, Post War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s New York commented a few days before the auction:
“One can only assume that if Leonardo, the consummate technologist of his time, were living and working now, he would be absolutely fascinated by the rise of NFTs and would probably have minted his own. This collaboration marks an important moment for Hackatao, now their research is the focus of the international art market. It also marks an incredible moment for the Museum of Crypto Art (M○C△), as this will be the first time Leonardo’s work will be exhibited in the metaverse. As the old boundaries between lived and virtual experience fade, Christie’s will continue to look for new ways to navigate the fascinating overlap between the two”.
And there is no doubt that the intersection of real and virtual experiences will become more and more so, where physical works and digital art find a common language: an increasingly phygital art world.