Crypto Sacer

Curator’s choice

For most of its history, art served ritual and the spiritual life of humanity. From cave paintings in Altamira to the Bactrian princesses, the Fayum portraits, medieval miniatures, Renaissance paintings, and beyond, all these cultural precedents were largely associated with the spiritual life of society.

In general terms, over time any community generates properties through autopoietic means that are adequate for society as a whole—establishing hierarchies, economic relationships, creating marginal strata, building pantheons of heroes, and seeking spiritual and religious foundations of varying degrees of depth and seriousness. The crypto community is no exception, especially the part of it that is directly involved in the production of images, namely, the artists.

However, it is important to consider that Web 3 is not only a cryptographic and economic project but also an ideological and visual project that succeeds internet culture with its rich visual, contextual, and associative language. It is evident that the crypto community is currently experiencing a tremendous surge of interest. Artists and creators are engaged in the search for spiritual foundations and the creation of synthetic images in which Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu symbols and heroes are sometimes integrated or communicated with characters that have sacred significance for the crypto world, whether it be Vitalik Buterin or Elon Musk (as the most obvious examples). The significance, quality, and meaning of these new experimental images are yet to be assessed, and this large narrative actively awaits its investigator.

Vittorio Bonapace

A.D. 2000: Crucifixion

Vittorio Bonapace has various creative identities. Trained in Stage and Production Design at the Rome Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, he worked for several years as a scenic artist and painter with Maurizio Varamo for the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, the Lyric Theater of Rome. He is currently Art/Creative Director at Vittorio Bonapace Studio in London, where he explores digital art.

Bonapace's Crucifixion is a work of sociological thought inspired by the author's personal experiences. It prompted contemplation on the interplay between faith, society, and technology. The artwork portrays the confrontation of two vastly different worlds in front of a dying Jesus: religion based on deep-seated, ancient values, and contemporary consumerism obsessed with social media, electronics, and technology. The Gospel's historical and religious details are present as well, such as cables emerging from Christ's wounds and his blood mixing with water. The primary historical figures, Mary, Mary Magdalene, St. John, and Longinus, the Roman soldier, are depicted as CryptoPunk artwork combined with classical angelic statues representing God's presence on earth. This artwork's strong visual contrast aims to emphasize the convergence of the two opposing realities. The four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are barely visible on the cross's extremities. The I.N.R.I inscription features a contemporary visual language. At Jesus' feet in the foreground, a technological dump adds to the dystopian atmosphere and excessive use and abuse of technology. The accompanying soundtrack reflects the visual language and its contrasts with a blend of robotic, digital, and analog sounds and a classical choral composition.

Alotta Money

Saint Nakamoto
Saint Nakamoto by Alotta Money

Allota Money defines himself as a Crypto Artist, Voxels architect, Photoshop Priest, VR&AR Maximalist, NFT Machine & Most Humble Visual Orgasm Provider in the Space. Like many other artists in the crypto world, he actively engages with the high artistic heritage of the past, trying to find semantic rhymes with the current Web3 community themes and imagery. Some of his works interpret recognizable mass culture works by great masters from da Vinci and van Eyck to Picasso.

In this case, he has reworked Caravaggio's St. Jerome (1606). St. Jerome was one of the Church Fathers, as well as the translator of the Bible into Latin. He is dressed in the clothes of a hermit, clearly referring to the period of his life in the desert, where he fervently prayed for the forgiveness of his sins. The skull lying on the table (by the way, a widely circulated image in the works of crypto artists with numerous references to internet culture) in the original illustrates the saying "memento mori," calling on the viewer to remember that everything is perishable but the spirit is eternal (like the blockchain). However, in its place in the animated collage Saint Nakamoto there is a retro computer. And the saint himself is depicted as Satoshi Nakamoto, a legendary figure surrounded by myths, who, instead of having great thoughts, eats a sandwich with a cutlet made of dollar bills with an indifferent face. There is no single way of interpreting the work; iconographic symbols of the old and new epochs make up a specific blend where the high and the low, the spiritual and the comical meet.


BABY CLOUD ANGEL - AI Renaissance Painting #9
BABY CLOUD ANGEL - AI Renaissance Painting #9 by wallyPDF

There is not a lot of public information about Wally Sajimi’s activity on his social media accounts. What’s known is that he is a Web3 entrepreneur who joined blue chip NFT collection Azuki as its Head of Partnership and is working side by side with A$AP Rocky.

Sajimi, like many other creators in the Web3 culture segment, is actively building a dialog between the cultural heritage of previous eras in art history and contemporary crypto and internet culture. Among his works, you can find interpretations of those by Bosch, Picasso, Rembrandt, Grant Wood, and many others.

BABY CLOUD ANGEL - AI Renaissance Painting #9 is a derivative of the artist's experiment with General Adversarial Networks (GAN), where he uploaded works by Renaissance artists. The author intentionally does not provide a list of the names of the artists included in the model, nor does he leave an extended commentary on the resulting works. His focus is on the experiment itself, the opportunity for another neural network to show its result, the meaningful ending of which remains open.

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Judgment of Life

The Medellin artist Saint MG works with religious themes and imagery using digital technology, calling himself the Lost Angel in the Digital Renaissance. In his work Judgment of Life, the artist provides an extensive and refined poetic description: “Time 11101101010110111110001. After the last day, night, and morning are part of nothingness and time rests on the eyelids of the past. Existence takes its inclination to begin with the end of eternity, to define a path, a path that in the mind is not traced but unconscious under the weight of each decision, the balance adds another fragment to its mechanism leaving nothing to chance. The end takes a last step together with the time and after 3 drops that return to their inkwell and the last day begins again.”

The work is deliberately saturated with religious symbols and attributes from different eras and cultures. A human skull, reminiscent of the transience of existence, eternal and unbreakable Egyptian pyramids, an open demonic codex, scales and hourglasses, numerous crosses, and a neatly placed violin on the side, hinting at the important role of fine arts and the artist in earthly life. The multi-figure composition is intentionally overloaded with details, but the artist's skillfully executed animation creates a seemingly stable balance, reminding us that our entire life is a fragile equilibrium.


Shepherd of the Painted Gardens
Shepherd of the Painted Gardens by alexkonstad

Alex Konstad is an American conceptual artist and illustrator from the forests of Portland Oregon. He has a broad background in CG and worked with Blizzard Entertainment, ShieldBreak Games, Reelfx, Psyop FX, Games Workshop, SpinMaster Toys, and Sony Online Entertainment.

Konstad is actively interested in plotlines that can be characterized as dreamlike. Some of his series depict imaginary worlds steeped in anxious mystique. The theme of the garden occupies a special place for him, and it is here that the artist's creative imagination fully manifests itself. The garden as a space undoubtedly represents an (un)real place, relating mundane and divine, chaos and order, tranquility and voluptuousness. Cryptic Gardens is undoubtedly inspired by Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, but it does not speculate too heavily on the original plot. Konstad departs from Bosch's deliberate multifacetedness and carefully populates the work with mythical creatures and lost people in space. The central figure, a headless and limbless martyr/preacher, is "grown" into the landscape. The horizon, as well as the color scheme, with hints of sfumato and a uniquely arranged light source, is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Paulius Uza

Worshippers of Ether
Worshippers of Ether by Paulius Uza

Paulius Uza was one of the first artists to come to the territory of Web3 art. We are presented with a clear and extremely common narrative for the crypto art segment. The action takes place in a futuristic society in the distant future, gathered in a temple where a lively, crowded liturgy is taking place. In the center of the composition is a stained glass window, incorporating the outlines of the Ethereum cryptocurrency symbol. Inside it is a dove, also known as the Holy Spirit, the face of the Trinity through which the Triune God acts in man and in the Church. The crypto community, as an actively interacting group of people united not only by financial interests but also by internet culture as a whole, obviously needs to seek or invent some spiritual foundations to build their own identity. Therefore, we can see numerous examples of artistic works on the territory of Web3 art illustrating synthetic religious symbols of the actively developing crypto imagery.

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The Curated platform supports openness in the Web3 space. Most of the works featured in this Curator’s Choice section are fetched from external Web3 marketplaces and fall under their respective regulations, and remain the intellectual copyright of the artists. The editorials are non-commercial and we do not take any fees or commissions.