For The Love Of God Beyond Belief is an etching from 2007 from Damien Hirst’s For The Love Of God series. The work shows a pair of sketches of human skulls, viewed from a side angle. This work is distinct due to its highly expressive and uninhibited style that is highly unusual within Hirst’s oeuvre. Each skull is rendered with very small circles to replicate a diamond encrusted surface, and the backdrop is produced through heavy and frenzied cross-hatching. Hirst has inscribed the title of the work into banners within each sketch.
The title of this work takes its name from one of Hirst’s most famous works in his oeuvre, For The Love Of God (2007). This was a platinum skull sculpture set with diamonds and was unprecedented in its use of materials. The title of the original work stems 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!”
Fascinated with the concept of death, the For The Love Of God series acts as a reminder that human existence on earth is transient. The iconography of the skull is indicative of the classic art historical subject of ‘memento mori’. Hirst also draws from Aztec skulls and the Mexican outlook on death and their tradition of decoration.