NFTs can sometimes be virtual versions of existing art but also original creations. Standing for Non-Fongible Token, they are a way to make a digital work unique by using a blockchain coding method that cannot be copied. NFT's can range from paintings to Digital creations and even tweets or YouTube videos.
When the Hermitage sells virtual versions of its most renowned works, naturally the buyer does not become owner of the original but rather the owner of that specific bit of code that acts as a certificate of authenticity. In this way the NFT is unique, even though the exact same picture can be found for free on the internet. This article goes a bit deeper into the explanation of how this new art market works.
To make those digital paintings more unique, and to justify their steep price of 10.000 BUSD (a cryptocurrency that follows the US dollar), each of the works for sale will have been signed by the Hermitage's director Mikhail Piotrovski.
Among the NFT's up for sale you will find Leonardo Da Vinci's Madonna Litta, Giorgione's Judith, the Lilas by Vincent Van Gogh, Monet's Corner of the Garden at Montgeron and the Composition VI of Vassii Kandinsky.