Date: 11 October 2007
$100 million Hirst skull to go on show in St Petersburg
The Hermitage museum in St Petersburg is to display a $100 million platinum and diamond skull by the British artist Damian Hirst, a museum spokesman said on Wednesday.
"We can now say for sure that we will display Damian's work," said Yelena Getmanskaya, the museum's senior researcher, adding that it would be on show for "about two or three weeks in May."
The work, For the Love of God, is the 18th century skull of a European, entirely covered in platinum and encrusted with 8,601 diamonds weighing a total of 1,106 carats. The centerpiece of the creation is a pear-shaped pink diamond, set in the skull's forehead.
"I wouldn't mind if it happened to my skull after my death," Hirst said, adding that his artwork is "uplifting, [it] takes your breath away".
In 2004, Hirst became world's second priciest living artist after the sale of his work, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, consisting of a 14-foot tiger- shark preserved in formaldehyde.
In June 2007, he assumed the title of the world's most expensive living artist after selling his Lullaby Spring installation, which contains 6,136 individually painted pills, for about $19 million.
Hirst said that the skull's tour would include "all the best museums around the world."
"I just want people to see it," the artist said. "We had a great reaction when we showed it in London, and it's been in all the newspapers all over the world."
Hirst, whose personal fortune is valued at approximately $260 million, is one of the many artists who have benefited from an 11-year boom in modern art prices, encouraged by demand from post-Soviet countries. Seven of his works have been bought by Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Pinchuk.
The artist said that the skull has already been sold, without giving any further details. "I can't say to whom, because I've signed a lot of confidentiality agreements. They want to remain anonymous.''
Source: RIA Novosti