For the love of God, in Italian Per l’amor di Dio, is a sculpture created in 2007 by English contemporary artist Damien Hirst. It consists of a human skull cast in platinum enriched with 8,601 diamonds, including a pink diamond-shaped drop—the so-called marquise diamond, located on the front of the skull.
The work, which cost around £14 million to fabricate, was put up for sale at the White Cube gallery in London at a price of £50 million. It was potentially highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist.
The sculpture was first exhibited to the public in London and Amsterdam and then in Italy, in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, from 26 November 2010 to 1 May 2011.
This work of art was very controversial and generated many polemics, because of its huge cost and use of a human body part.
In an article in The Guardian, Germaine Greer said, “Damien Hirst is a brand, because the art form of the 21st century is marketing. To develop so strong a brand on so conspicuously threadbare a rationale is hugely creative – revolutionary even.”
Richard Dorment, art critic of The Daily Telegraph, wrote: “If anyone but Hirst had made this curious object, we would be struck by its vulgarity. It looks like the kind of thing Asprey or Harrods might sell to credulous visitors from the oil states with unlimited amounts of money to spend, little taste, and no knowledge of art. I can imagine it gracing the drawing room of some African dictator or Colombian drug baron. But not just anyone made it – Hirst did. Knowing this, we look at it in a different way and realize that in the most brutal, direct way possible, For the Love of God questions something about the morality of art and money.”
Ralph Rugoff of the Hayward Gallery in London criticized the work as a mere decorative object, saying “It’s not challenging or fresh. It’s a decorative object which is not particularly well done.”
For the love of God was not exactly exposed in the Studiolo of Francesco I de’ Medici, but in that was once the bedroom of Duke Cosimo de’ Medici and later of his son Francesco I. This room is accessible through the Studiolo of Francesco I.
In Dan Brown’s Inferno, Robert Langdon wrongly goes into the Studiolo looking for The eyes of death. He visited Hirst’s exhibition, thinking that the enigmatic sentence could have been related to the diamond skull, and then to The Studiolo.
The eyes of death, he thought. A skull certainly qualifies, doesn’t it? Skulls were a recurring theme in Dante’s Inferno, most famously Count Ugolino’s brutal punishment in the lowest circle of hell—that of being sentenced to gnaw eternally on the skull of a wicked archbishop.
He soon realized that he was on the wrong road.
Picture from Wikipedia