Damien Hirst's Skull and Bones
For Damien Hirst, sharks and cows pickled in formaldehyde are out. What's in are a platinum skull encased in diamonds and the latest rendering of "The Virgin Mother," his 35-foot-tall, 13.5-ton bronze statue exposing the bones, muscle tissue and fetus of a hugely pregnant woman. First the skull, which Mr. Hirst, described in an interview with The Observer of London as "certainly the biggest single undertaking by a jeweler since the crown jewels," Agence France-Presse reported. Mr. Hirst said the work, titled "For the Love of God," will consist of a human skull, cast in platinum and covered in 8,500 diamonds at a cost of $15 million to $18.8 million. "The biggest expense will be the 50-carat beauty that will sit on the forehead," he said, adding: "The only part of the original skull that will remain will be the teeth. You need that grotesque element for it to work as a piece of art." Explaining the artistic impulse, Mr. Hirst said: "I just want to celebrate life by saying to hell with death. What better way of saying that than by taking the ultimate symbol of death and covering it in the ultimate symbol of luxury, desire and decadence?" "The Virgin Mother" went on view yesterday in the courtyard outside the Royal Academy of Arts in London, the BBC reported. An earlier rendering was installed in 2005 outside Lever House in Manhattan.