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The Vatican ventures into the metaverse

A holiness has descended upon the Web3 space, with news that the Vatican is opening an NFT gallery in virtual reality to ‘democratise’ access to art.

a large room with statues

Jeswin Thomas/Pexels.

After capturing imaginations worldwide, NFTs have now found a place in the heart of the Catholic Church. The Vatican surprised the world on Monday by announcing a partnership with metaverse developer Sensorium to develop the first-ever VR and NFT gallery hosting Vatican art.

The Humanity 2.0 Foundation – a Vatican-led non-profit focused on socio-economic and cultural development – is to work with Sensorium on the project, with the ultimate vision of democratising access to the Vatican’s heritage collection.

Upon its launch, manuscripts, masterpieces, and academic initiatives housed in the Vatican Museum – which is among the most visited in the world – will be available virtually to a wider audience worldwide.  

Founded in the 16th century, the Vatican Museum’s collection consists of nearly 800 artworks by 250 international artists, including Michelangelo, Raphael, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Paul Gauguin, Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso.

“We look forward to working with Sensorium to explore ways to democratize art, making it more widely available to people around the world regardless of their socio-economic and geographical limitations,” says Father Philip Larrey, chairman of Humanity 2.0. “The partnership with Sensorium brings this goal a step further and equips us with the latest tech solutions.”

It is expected that the gallery, which will be widely available through desktops and VR, will be launched at some point this year.

The Vatican confirmed to Art News that the NFTs have a purely social rather than commercial function, potentially being used in the form of “tickets and other objects” instead – wonders never cease!

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