Diamond skull art fetches over $100 million

Investment group buys artist Damien Hirst's encrusted creation "For the Love of God."

Damien Hirst Diamond skull
'For the Love of God' Damien Hirst/White Cube

While this certainly goes into the what-else-can-we-encrust category on Crave, it's also a coup de grâce for the art world.

This work by Damien Hirst, titled "For the Love of God," is made of diamonds, human teeth and the platinum-plated skull of a 35-year-old European male from the 1700s rumored to be a monk or minor saint (hence the name).

The diamond-encrusted skull sold for 50 million pounds ($101 million) on Wednesday. In fairness to Hirst, the skull did cost him $20 million to produce. Hirst is part of the investment group that bought the piece, according to a Bloomberg report. White Cube, the hottest contemporary art gallery in London and Hirst's sole seller, said the group plans to resell it later.

Hirst is the richest artist in the U.K., though not from this sale alone. White Cube made 130 million pounds ($262 million) in sales in June from Hirst's other works, the gallery told Bloomberg.

Hirst's pricey artworks, which are usually just as outrageously expensive to produce, are often not even considered finished until someone has bought them, as the sale of the art and market value placed on it is part of the artwork itself. It's an expression of the excess of our times and how the world's super rich spend their disposable wealth as others live in poverty, according to a friend at one of New York's premiere fine art galleries.

Whether his intentions are decadent or not, this artist is still walking away with most of that money in his pocket.

I'm not craving the skull per se, but I am craving Hirst's power to get people to pay $80 million for an idea.

About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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