Damien Hirst, "Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain," 2006, Bronze
2500 x 1100 x 950 mm | 98.4 x 43.3 x 37.4 in | Edition 1 of 6 + 2 APs + 1 HC
Sculpture, Gold, Silver and Bronze
On display Chatsworth House, Bakewell, United Kingdom
Hirst's statue depicts Bartholomew, one of the twelve apostles often referred to as Nathaniel. Hirst pictures Bartholomew holding his shed skin, alluding to his death during which he was buried alive. However, this sculpture envisions Bartholomew holding a scissor in one hand and a scalpel in the other as if implying he skinned himself. This metaphoric gesture refers to the martyrdom of Bartholomew since, as a Christian put to death for his religion, he accepted his death. Instead of picturing him weak and deathly, the sculpture displays Bartholomew with a triumphant and powerful stance. Shedding his skin becomes a a metaphor for his ascension into heaven; once he sheds his material existence, he becomes powerful.