Art Stories – For the Love of God – Damien Hirst
For the Love of God is a sculpture by British artist Damien Hirst produced in 2007. It consists of a platinum cast of an 18th-century human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, including a pear-shaped pink diamond located in the forehead that is known as the Skull Star Diamond. The skull’s teeth are original, and were purchased by Hirst in London. The artwork is a memento mori, or reminder of the mortality of the viewer.
In 2007, art historian Rudi Fuchs, described the work as “out of this world, celestial almost. It proclaims victory over decay. At the same time it represents death as something infinitely more relentless. Compared to the tearful sadness of a vanitas scene, the diamond skull is glory itself.” Costing £14 million to produce, the work was placed on its inaugural display at the White Cube gallery in London in an exhibition ‘Beyond Belief’, with an asking price of £50 million. This would have been the highest price ever paid for a single work by a living artist.
The work was sold on 30 August 2007, for the full asking price of £50 million, to an anonymous consortium. The skull was bought in cash, leaving no paper trail. The consortium that bought the piece included Hirst himself.