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The Love Of God

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Critical Review

Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God is a selection of photorealistic prints depicting the artist’s infamous 2007 sculpture of the same name. The skull in each print is covered entirely with diamonds and set with a large stone in the centre of the forehead.

This central stone was inspired by Hirst’s childhood memories of the comic 2000 AD. which he explains “used to have a character in it called Tharg the Mighty who had a circle on his forehead. He was like a kind of powerful God-like figure who controlled the universe…It kind of just looked like it needed something. A third eye; a connection to Jesus and his dad.”

Aside from For the Love of God Beyond Belief, each print in this collection is a stylistically typical representation of Hirst’s famous skull sculpture. So, For the Love of God Beyond Belief is rather unusual with its highly expressive and uninhibited style, showing us a pair of sketches of human skulls that emphasise the presence of the artist’s hand. Each of these prints show the skull sculpture set against a black, white or grey backdrop, producing a monochrome effect across the entire collection.

As the title of the collection indicates, Hirst is fascinated by religion, and his work addresses the endless renewal of faith, even in the face of mortality. The iconography of the skull and the diamond in this collection synthesises Hirst’s fascination with the intersection between religion, aesthetics and science that govern humanity.

Moreover, the title of this collection and the original 2007 sculpture stem from exclamations that Hirst’s mother would make when hearing of his new works as a young artist. Hirst explains: ‘She used to say, “For the love of God, what are you going to do next!”’