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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 August 2007, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Hirst's diamond skull raises 50m
Damien Hirst and For the Love of God
The diamonds encase a real human skull

A diamond-encrusted human skull created by artist Damien Hirst has sold to an investment group for 50m ($100m).

The platinum cast of an 18th Century skull is covered in 8,601 jewels. It is thought to be the world's most expensive piece of contemporary art.

A spokeswoman for the White Cube gallery in London could not give further details about the buyers.

However, she said they planned to re-sell the artwork at a later date. Hirst also retains part-ownership.


The artwork, based on the skull of a 35-year-old 18th century European man, caused a sensation when it first went on display in central London on 3 June - not least because of its price tag.

Some critics dismissed it as tasteless while others saw it as a reflection of celebrity-obsessed culture.

Hirst said the piece, called For the Love of God, was "uplifting" and "takes your breath away".

The centrepiece of the 41-year-old's creation is a pear-shaped pink diamond, set in the forehead.

Damien Hirst's skull
Hirst plans to take the skull on a global tour of art galleries
New teeth were also made for the artwork, which is thought to have cost about 14m to create.

Hirst is planning a global tour for the skull following its sale, said a spokeswoman for the White Cube gallery. However, no dates or locations have been confirmed.

She added that, as the artist had retained a share in the artwork, he would benefit financially if it was sold in the future.

Earlier this year, one of Hirst's trademark medicine cabinets became the most expensive work by a living European artist to be sold at auction.

Lullaby Spring, which contains 6,136 individually painted pills, sold for 9.65m at Sotheby's in London.

The British artist, who is most famous for preserving animals in formaldehyde, has rejected suggestions that his works are a standing joke against the art establishment.

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03 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
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29 Mar 05 |  Entertainment

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