‘For the Love of God’, a platinum skull set with diamonds, is one of Hirst’s most important and widely recognized works. Like the memento mori or the vanitas symbols in the history of art, it portrays the artist’s obsession with the inevitability of human mortality. The title originates from exclamations Hirst’s mother would make on hearing plans for new works when he was starting out as an artist. As he explains: “She used to say, ‘For the love of God, what are you going to do next!’”
‘For the Love of God’ acts as a reminder that our existence on earth is transient. Hirst combined the imagery of classic memento mori with inspiration drawn from Aztec skulls and the Mexican love of decoration and attitude towards death. Like the vanitas symbols in the history of art, it portrays the artist’s obsession with the inevitability of human mortality. This silkscreen features a 3/4 perspective of skull, playing with a different point of view of the encrusted famous skull.
“You don’t like it (death), so you disguise it or you decorate it to make it look like something bearable – to such an extent that it becomes something else.„