For the Love of God, Damien Hirst, 2007
For the Love of God is a life-size cast of a human skull in platinum, entirely covered by 8,601 VVS to flawless pavé-set diamonds, weighing a total of 1,106.18 carats. Set into the forehead is a large pear-shaped pink diamond, known as the Skull Star Diamond. The teeth are those of the original skull, which was purchased by Hirst in London, and dates back to the eighteenth-century.
The work stands in the great tradition of the ‘Memento Mori’, where an image or an object serves to remind us of our mortality. Dutch art historian Rudi Fuchs, writing about the work in 2007, observed: ‘The skull is 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’ (WIRED).