(NEW YORK POST) – It’s enough to wipe the smile off the Mona Lisa.
Tech entrepreneur Stephan Distinguin has suggested that France can offset its financial losses from the coronavirus pandemic by selling Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece — arguably the most famous artwork in the world, according to the Independent.
Distinguin, founder of innovation agency Fabernovel, told Usbek & Rica Magazine that the country should “sell the family jewelry” for at least 50 billion euros, or $54.7 billion.
“Day after day, we list the billions engulfed in this slump like children counting the fall of a stone into a well to measure its depth,” Distinguin told the mag. “We are still counting, and this crisis seems unfathomable.”
He continued: “As an entrepreneur and a taxpayer, I know that these billions are not invented and that they will necessarily cost us. An obvious reflex is to sell off a valuable asset at the highest price possible, but one that is the least critical as possible to our future.”
The early-16th-century masterpiece known as La Gioconda in Italian, the Mona Lisa has long captivated visitors to the Louvre museum in Paris, as she smiles coyly at first, but then appears to actually be sneering mockingly or sadly the longer one looks.
Distinguin argued that “a painting is easy to move and therefore to hand over.”
“And we have a lot of paintings … In 2020, we have to get the money where it is. So sell family jewelry … The price is the crux of the matter and the main subject of controversy,” he said.
“The price has to be insane for the operation to make sense. … I was told that my estimate was very overvalued, even far-fetched, but each time without real arguments,” he added.
Distinguin also suggested that the painting could be “tokenized” with a form of crypto-currency allowing it to be easily shared between countries.
“It would be like a big global subscription,” he said. “Legally and technically, this solution would have many advantages: it would allow France and the Louvre to keep control of the painting.
“One can even imagine that this ploy would garner the assent of the great Leonardo da Vinci, he who painted but also mastered all the sciences and technologies of his time.”
Last year, the Louvre began work on a virtual reality program that would allow visitors to experience the Mona Lisa up close and away from the teeming masses.