Damien Hirst's latest artwork is this life-size platinum skull encrusted with 8,601 fine diamonds. The sculpture, titled "For The Love of God," will likely sell for as much as $100 million, making it the priciest contemporary artwork ever made. White Cube gallery is selling several limited edition silkscreen prints of the work, priced from £900 to £10,000, for one sprinkled with diamond dust. The title of the piece comes from Hirst's mother who asked her son, "For the love of God, what are you going to do next?" 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. "I remember thinking it would be great to do a diamond one – but just prohibitively expensive," he recalls. "Then I started to think – maybe that'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."
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 artist's benefit. Given the ongoing controversy over blood diamonds from Africa, "For the Love of God" now has the potential to be about death in a more literal way.
"That's when you stop laughing," Hirst says. "You might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because it's going to need high security all its life."