Czech prince William Rudolf Lobkowick is preserving heirlooms from his family's 700-year-old legacy using NFTs
The Royal family of the Czech Republic continues their legacy by funding over 50 art restoration projects
By Shashank Bhardwaj
Czech Prince William Rudolf Lobkowicz is using NFTs, crypto assets, and the metaverse to reclaim ownership of his noble family's stolen past. The Lobkowicz Art Collection dates back 500 years. The 27-years-old tech-savvy royal is now planning to use NFTs to preserve the family's legacy. It was reported that the family has inherited three castles, one palace, 20,000 moveable artefacts, a library of approximately 65,000 rare books, 5,000 musical artefacts, and compositions—including an early copy of Beethoven's 5th symphony—and 30,000 boxes and folios, some of which have never been opened.
The collection also includes paintings by Pieter Bruegel and Diego Velázquez from the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as other world-renowned paintings by Bellotto, Canaletto, Cranach, Rubens, and Veronese, as well as ceramics spanning five centuries, Beethoven's Opus 18 String Quartets, 1,200 pieces of arms and armour, and string and wind instruments, including trumpets gilded in gold.
The assets were allegedly stolen first by the Nazis during WWII and then by the Communists in the early 1990s, following the fall of the Soviet Union. Rudolf's father, William E.
Lobkowicz, is descended from a 600-year-old noble family in Bohemia that once supported Ludwig van Beethoven. He, too, has travelled throughout former Czechoslovakia in order to reclaim his family heirloom. "Our objects were taken to over 100 locations, so we crisscrossed Czechoslovakia to recover tens of thousands of movable objects…We probably covered hundreds of thousands of miles," he said.
William Jr. talked about his plans and said, "It's not just about selling NFTs to support cultural monuments, but it's also looking at how we preserve a record of our history?...Blockchain technology provides an immutable record of our cultural heritage, which you can preserve on-chain, and that's something that's never been done before."
Although the Lobkowicz family regained possession of their property and artworks, they cannot be sold or left the country without the permission of the government. The Czech royals have funded preservation and restoration through tourism and events. The family has funded over 50 art restoration projects and raised $300,000 through NFT sales. The buyer of the NFT will receive a second digital asset of the restored painting at the end of the restoration.
William has also collaborated with Somnium. It is a virtual reality metaverse built on the Ethereum blockchain. On the metaverse, he uploaded and sold a three-month restoration of the Chinese Belvedere room in one of their Prague palaces to a well-known crypto influencer known as Oxb1 for $79,000. According to the Harvard Central European History graduate, "NFTs can potentially offer cultural institutions a new patronage model…By investing in an NFT, a patron receives ownership of a unique digital asset while also directly supporting conservation efforts or other important cultural initiatives."
Shashank is the founder at yMedia. He ventured into crypto in 2013 and is an ETH maximalist.
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