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Jesus is Condemned to Die 2004

Damien Hirst (born 1965, Bristol, England, UK)

This is the first in a series of fourteen Stations of the Cross, which represent iconic moments during the final hours of Jesus Christ - a subject that has fascinated artists for over a thousand years. The series was a collaborative project by the world famous artist Damien Hirst and the fashion photographer David Bailey, in which Hirst continues his fascination with Christian iconography. He transforms these familiar scenes by placing them in a modern context, as so many of his Mediaeval and Renaissance predecessors also did. In this series Hirst has incorporated his most recognisable imagery - here the stark form of a cow's skull stands in for the condemned Christ, and his crown of thorns is transformed into a modern-day symbol of brutality: barbed wire. The figure wearing the skull holds aloft two shining knives, symbols of the inevitable crucifixion of Christ. That it is the Christ figure who holds the knives, rather than his persecutors, hints at the pre-ordained nature of the Crucifixion and at Christ's acceptance of his fate. The display of the entire series at the Gagosian Gallery proved to be extremely controversial, not only in terms of the content of the work and its potentially blasphemous nature, but also in terms of the quality of the art: one critic described the works collectively as 'a glorification of gore'. This is perhaps the least gruesome of the fourteen images, yet still carries with great force the powerful and timeless message of the condemnation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It also draws comparison with Francis Baconís equally disturbing Pope I - study after Pope Innocent X, which is also in Aberdeen Art Galleryís permanent collection.

Acquisition Details

Acquired from Gagosian Gallery, London, 2005
Purchased with funds from the National Collecting Scheme for Scotland which was originated and operated 2003-2006 by the Contemporary Art Society and supported by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council.
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