English artist and entrepreneur, Damien Hirst's diamond encrusted 18th century skull sculpture will be on display at Tate's Modern Turbine Hall for the first time.
Covered with 8,601 flawless diamonds, it's a skull made out of platinum, diamonds, and human teeth. It comes in at 1,106.18 carats and is the most expensive piece of art ever created. The sculpture intrigued onlookers and provoked worldwide attention when it was unveiled five years ago at the White Cube commercial gallery in London.
The sculpture, titled, For the Love of God is one of the most controversial works by the artist and was sold to a group of collectors in 2007 for $100 million.
We are delighted to be showing this key work by Damien Hirst to coincide with our major exhibition at Tate Modern in 2012. Visitors will be given the opportunity to view For the Love of God as an independent exhibit or as a culmination of many of the themes revealed in the exhibition, which surveys Hirst's work from the late 1980s onwards, said Ann Gallagher, Head of Collections (British Art), Tate and curator of the exhibition.
According to Reuters, like much of Hirst's work, the sculpture is a commentary on mortality and death as well as market forces, although to some critics it amounts to little more than bling.
The life size diamond covered skull was inset with the original skull's teeth and a 52.4 carat pink diamond was set at the front of the cranium.
I am really pleased that the diamond skull will be on exhibition again in London, having been away for five years, Hirst retorted.
The display has been sponsored by the Qatar Museums Authority and will be running from April 4 to Sept.9, 2012 at the Turbine Hall.
For the Love of God is regarded as one of the most contemporary creations of the 21st century the artwork is also viewed by many as a glorious, devotional, defiant or provocative gesture in the face of death itself.