Hirst's diamond skull on tour after selling for £50m
DAMIEN Hirst's diamond- encrusted skull is expected to travel the globe after being sold for a record-breaking £50 million yesterday.
For the Love of God, bought by an unnamed investment group, has become the most expensive piece of contemporary art.
Hirst, 42, already estimated to be worth more than 130 million, will retain a stake in the skull, covered entirely with 8,601 diamonds.
The artist's business manager, Frank Dunphy, said the skull, which took more than 18 months to cover in diamonds, was sold for $100 million (50 million) and would be paid for in cash.
The maverick artist, famous for pickling a shark in formaldehyde, has said he hoped that the British Museum would display the glittering skull alongside its ancient treasures.
Radiocarbon analysis suggested that the skull, which went on display at the White Cube gallery in central London in June, belonged to a man who lived some time between 1720 and 1810.
It is hoped that the skull will tour museums around the world for the next two or three years.
A spokeswoman for the gallery, which represents Hirst, said: "The intention behind Damien retaining part ownership is so that the skull is seen by a broader audience."
The work has a 52-carat pink diamond at its centre and is studded with 14 pear-shaped diamonds.
Hirst, believed to be Britain's wealthiest living artist, says the piece highlights the transience of human existence. "I hope it makes people feel good."
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