Art by Damien Hirst Find out more...

Damien Hirst was born in Bristol and grew up in Leeds, UK. His father was reportedly a motor mechanic, who left the family when Damien Hirst was 12. His mother, Mary Brennan, of Irish Catholic descent, has stated that she lost control of her son when he was young. However, Hirst sees her as someone who encourage his liking for drawing, which was his only successful educational subject.


Damien Hirst studied at Goldsmiths College in London and first came to public attention in 1988 when he conceived and curated "Freeze," an exhibition of his work and that of his friends and fellow students at Goldsmiths. In the nearly quarter of a century, Hirst has become one of the most influential artists of his generation. Well known works include his series of animals in formaldehyde including The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991), a shark in formaldehyde and Mother and Child Divided (1993) a four-part sculpture of a bisected cow and calf.


Damien Hirst’s work has generated enormous controversy, for its morbidity and fascination with medicine, in particular for his piece ‘For the Love of God’ which was a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with diamonds. The art historian Rudi Fuchs has said, “The skull is out of this world, celestial almost. At the same time, it represents death as something infinitely more relentless. Compared to the tearful sadness of a vanitas scene, the diamond skull is glory itself.” Damien Hirst was a prominent member of the ‘Young British Artists’ (or YBAs) who rose to fame during the 1990’s and were seen as part of the wider Brit pop cultural movement.

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst was born in Bristol and grew up in Leeds, UK.