Diamond Encrusted Baby Skull Sparks Controversy

Damien Hirst‘s latest artwork, a baby’s skull cast in platinum and encrusted with 8,000 diamonds, has caused quite an outrage among parenting groups who think it’s offensive and deeply disturbing.

Hirst has made quite a name for himself, as a controversial artist who has previously dissected sheep and pickled a shark and showed them off as artworks. As disgusting as this sounds, it earned him an international reputation and a multi-million dollar fortune. But some say the bad boy of the art world has gone a little to far with his latest creation, “For Heaven’s Sake”.

He took a baby skull from a 19th century pathology collection he acquired, made a platinum cast and encrusted it with 8,000 diamonds. The piece is the centerpiece of a new exhibition scheduled to open later this month, in Hong Kong, but it has already made headlines, after parenting groups labeled it as troubling. “Mr Hirst may not have intended to be insensitive with his new work, but the fact is it will have a profound effect on many people who will find the subject deeply disturbing.” said Sally Russell, founder of the Netmums parenting group.

This is actually, Damien Hirst’s second diamond encrusted skull; the first one, entitled “For The Love Of God”, had 8,600 diamonds, including a $6.5 million pink diamond, fixed in the forehead. It had a price tag of $100 million and was sold to a consortium.

Some people say “For Heaven’s Sake” is just a platinum cast, while other believe it is offensive, especially to parents who have lost a child. What do you think?


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Feedback (5 Comments)

  • Justathought Posted on February 24, 2011

    I thought great art came from the gutter, like great music. A beautiful and extradorinary painting costs nothing to make yet it ends up revered. My favourite artist in this respect is Dali, although I hate some of his work. The same applies with a beautiful vase or sculpture. It can captivate. Italy has breathtaking sculpture, for example. A diamond encrusted baby skull is certainly striking, which of course it immediately is given that diamonds were used. The Crown Jewels came to mind when I saw it. The human body is one of my favourite subjects but I have no lasting feeling of awe when I consider that it takes greatness to make something out of nothing, and foolishness and poverty of imagination to make nothing out of something. Given the millions of starving children and people around the world and his estimated fortune perhaps he would like to donate the diamond encrusted skulls he has now made, so that we can forever wonder how much money it took to make them?

  • Justathought Posted on February 24, 2011

    Or perhaps he has or he will donate the profits given that the items appear to have been sold? I undertstood Hirst actually largely owns atleast one of the skulls. Confused? I hope the proud owners display the two skulls for the public to view so that we can wonder at how much it cost to make them. This would all be within keeping with: For The Love of God.

  • doug funnay Posted on April 17, 2011

    frankly i find sally russells thoughts to be disturbing…. she should think twice before displaying them in a public manner lest someone get offended

    thats what art is conveying thought and emotion to other people and if you can find any thought offensive you probably havent had enough of them