Hirst’s Skull To Open World Tour in Amsterdam

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The New York Sun

Damien Hirst has chosen the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam to start a world tour of his $100 million diamond skull.

“The theme of the skull is the aversion of death in art,” a Rijksmuseum spokeswoman, Elles Kamphuis, said in a telephone interview today. “That is also a popular theme in paintings from the Dutch Golden Age.”

The Dutch museum, which houses Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch,” pledged to clear an entire hall for the exhibition. Mr. Hirst, 43, is also making a selection of the Rijksmuseum’s paintings, which include so-called Vanitas — still lifes that depict skulls or other symbols of death — to show in a hall next to his work, Ms. Kamphuis said.

Mr. Hirst’s skull, called “For the Love of God,” is cast from platinum and encrusted with 8,601 diamonds, and has its original teeth, the Rijksmuseum said in a statement on its Web site.

“As an artist I try to make things that people can believe in, that they can relate to, that they can experience,” Mr. Hirst was quoted as saying in the statement. “You therefore have to show them as well as possible.”

The skull will be on display between November 1 and December 15, and the Rijksmuseum hopes to draw “a lot more” visitors than the average 2,000 who buy a ticket “on a normal day in fall,” Ms. Kamphuis said. “We have never showed something like this.”

Ms. Kamphuis said she doesn’t know where the next exhibition of the skull will be after it leaves Amsterdam.

In August 2007 London’s White Cube gallery said that Mr. Hirst, whom the Sunday Times’s 2008 Rich List estimates is worth $367 million, was part of the investment group that bought “For the Love of God.” The skull had been on sale for $100 million in the artist’s solo show “Beyond Belief.”

The New York Sun

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