Crafted by Damien Hirst, this piece is a bit macabre, but will definitely be a conversation starter wherever it goes. The sculpture, titled â€œFor the Love of Godâ€, is a life-sized platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 fine diamonds, and was sold for $100 million. The title originated from Hirstâ€™s mother, who commented â€œFor the love of God, what are you going to do next?â€ Sounds like a reasonable question to me, what about you?
The sculpture was cast from an 18th-century skull Hirst bought in London. The piece is reminiscent of old Mexican skulls decorated with Turquoise.
Now, a question: even if youâ€™ve found the perfect place to display it, and arenâ€™t creeped out by a glimmering, grinning skull staring at you, is it still appropriate to display it? In the end, this is still a cast of some poor 30-something year old English manâ€™s skull. Better than it being the actual skull, but it seems to be a deeply personal thing to have of someone, especially when you really have no idea of whom they were and how this skull was acquired. Art is subjective, I suppose, and if the purpose of this piece is to get people talking about death, then mission accomplished.
From the New York Times:
For Hirst, famous pickler of sharks and bovine bisector, all his art is about death. This piece, which was cast from an 18th-century skull he bought in London, was influenced by Mexican skulls encrusted in turquoise. â€œI remember thinking it would be great to do a diamond one â€” but just prohibitively expensive,â€ he recalls. â€œThen I started to think â€” maybe thatâ€™s why it is a good thing to do. Death is such a heavy subject, it would be good to make something that laughed in the face of it.â€
Hirst, who financed the piece himself, watched for months as the price of international diamonds rose while the Bond Street gem dealer Bentley & Skinner tried to corner the market for the artistâ€™s benefit. Given the ongoing controversy over blood diamonds from Africa, â€œFor the Love of Godâ€ now has the potential to be about death in a more literal way.
â€œThatâ€™s when you stop laughing,â€ Hirst says. â€œYou might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because itâ€™s going to need high security all its life.â€