The art world has been redefined by technology in recent years. Social media has transformed art as artists seek to create Instagrammable installations, while NFTs have redefined the concept of art ownership. It was only a matter of time, then, before we saw Instagram posts fused with world-famous paintings.
That's just what Money.co.uk had done. Inspired by the boom in NFT, which has seen pieces fetch millions at auction, the price comparison site set out to imagine what the world's most expensive paintings would look like merged with Instagram's most-liked posts. It's even calculated how much the hybrid "digital masterpieces" might sell for (see our guide to NFTs, if you're still confused about what they are).
The most-liked Instagram post since January 2019 remains the world record egg (opens in new tab) with over 55 million likes. So logically, the experiment used an egg to replace Jesus's face in Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which sold for a record-breaking $450.3million (£325.8million) in 2017. Money.co.uk (opens in new tab) reckons the resulting piece would fetch up to $17,053 "based upon follower count, likes and engagement" calculated using Influencer Marketing Hub (opens in new tab), which estimates the potential return for influencers with large followings.
The results are predictably ludicrous mashups, and we're not quite sure what they say about social media's impact on art. However, some of them work surprisingly well. The second most-liked post on Instagram is pop superstar Ariana Grande's announcement (opens in new tab) of her marriage to Dalton Gomez in May 2021, with 26.6 million likes and counting. Above, you can see a post from the wedding itself reimagined through the brush of Paul Gauguin in his Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry).
The late XXX Tentacion's last Instagram post (opens in new tab) from 20 May 2018 fits quite well with the world's second most expensive piece of art, Willem de Kooning’s Interchange. Meanwhile, a blond Billie Eilish looks a little unimpressed about being placed in Paul Cézanne’s The Card Players.
The series is completed by Lionel Messi’s tribute to Diego Maradona (opens in new tab) comically reworked as Pablo Picasso's Le Rêve, which sold for £124million ($155million) in 2013. If you want to try your own luck at selling your digital creations, take a look at our practical guide to how to make and sell an NFT.