Victory Over Death is a signed photogravure etching produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. Made in 2008, the work shows a diamond encrusted skull set against a black backdrop. The dazzling skull is placed in the centre of the composition and appears to float without a body. The skull stares out at the viewer, acting as a memento mori, a visual reminder of the inevitability of death.
Death is a theme that Hirst often explores through his art, exemplified by his frequent use of skulls, his interest in medicine, as well as his incorporation of dead animals and insects into his artworks. In Victory Over Death, Hirst rejects the traditional association of the skull with death and decay by decorating the skull with spectacular diamonds. The work therefore has a playful message, encouraging the viewer not to fear death, but to accept the beauty of its inevitability. Other series by Hirst which use skulls as their source of artistic inspiration are The Dead series (2009) and I Once Was What You Are, You Will Be What I Am (2007).
The work is based on Hirst’s sensational piece, For the Love of God, made in 2007. In this artwork, Hirst studded a human skull with 8,601 diamonds, making it one of the most expensive contemporary artworks in the world.