About this artwork

‘With Dead Head’ shows Hirst posing for the camera with a severed head. The photograph was taken at a morgue in Leeds when Hirst was sixteen - he went along with a friend who was studying microbiology. This work reveals his unflinching ability to confront death and life’s brevity even at an early age, but his expression betrays an underlying fear. Around this time Hirst began to collect pathology books containing pictures of burns and wounds, and developed an interest in the work of Francis Bacon. Hirst maintained that, although he was fascinated by corpses - how they can be both visually horrific and beautiful at the same time - dead bodies still didn’t explain anything about death.

see media
  • title:
    With Dead Head
  • accession number:
    AR00617
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • materials:
    Photograph, black and white, on paper on aluminium
  • date created:
    1991
  • measurements:
    57.20 x 76.20 cm
  • credit line:
    ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright:
    © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2018.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst