Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull on view in Florence at Palazzo Vecchio

Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull on view in Florence at Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio

Damien Hirst, “For the Love of God,” 2007.
Platinum, diamonds and human teeth 6 3/4 x 5 x 7 1/2 in.

January 16, 2011

Damien Hirst
For the Love of God

Diamond Skull by Damien Hirst on view in Florence At Palazzo Vecchio
26 November 2010 – 1 May 2011


As an artist I try to make things that people can believe in, that they can relate to, that they can experience. You therefore have to show them as well as possible.
—Damien Hirst, 2008

Any beautiful object, whether a living organism or any other entity composed of parts, must not only possess those parts in proper order, but its magnitude also should not be arbitrary; beauty consists in magnitude as well as order.
—Aristotle, Poetics

The diamond encrusted skull, For the Love of God, by British artist Damien Hirst, which gained iconic status following its first exhibition in 2007, will be presented at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence from 26 November 2010 to 1 May 2011.

Promoted by the Comune di Firenze, Assessorato alla Cultura e alla Contemporaneità and the Musei Civici Fiorentini, the event was conceived by Memoria srl, is curated by Francesco Bonami and is being produced and organised by Arthemisia Group.

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.’

Palazzo Vecchio is the historic seat of the Florentine government and one of the great masterworks of the italian art and architecture. Palazzo Vecchio’s lavishly decorated rooms, which were designed by Vasari, hosted the court of Duke Cosimo I de’ Medici. For the Love of God will be displayed in the Camera of Duca Cosimo, which visitors will reach by passing through the Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici, usually only viewable by prior arrangement, in a unique encounter between the Palazzo Vecchio ‘room of wonders’—a masterpiece of Florentine Mannerism created between 1570 and 1575—and Hirst’s tour de force, For the Love of God.

Prior to the exhibition in Florence, For the Love of God has only been shown twice. Following its inaugural exhibition at White Cube in London (2007), For the Love of God was exhibited at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (2008), where it attracted over 250,000 visitors.

Comune di Firenze, Musei Civici Fiorentini and Arthemisia Group would like to thank Pitti Immagine for its collaboration.


T +39 055055

Opening Times
Every day h 9 am – 7 pm
Thursday h 9 am – 2 pm

Press Offices
Arthemisia Group

Alessandra Zanchi
M +39 349 5691710 – az@arthemisia.it
Ilaria Bolognesi
M +39 393 9673674 – ib@arthemisia.it
T +39 02 6596888 T +39 0721 370956
Comune di Firenze
Elisa Di Lupo
M +39 338 6427702
T +39 055 2768531

*Image above:
Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates
Courtesy of White Cube
© Damien Hirst. All rights reserved, DACS 2010

Damien Hirst's Diamond Skull on view in Florence at Palazzo Vecchio
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