The Severed Head of Medusa



38.1 × 49.5 × 52.1 cm (15 × 19 1/2 × 20 1/2 in.)

Fourteen of the world's most venomous snakes, depicted in minute detail, writhe on the Gorgon’s petrified head, including the Seba python, the horned viper and the coral snake. Medusa’s head has a gaping mouth and surmounts an anatomically realistic severed neck, removing all sublimation from the decapitation.

The Severed Head of Medusa is made entirely of malachite, a protohistoric green copper ore that emits toxic dust when worked. This apotropaic figure is recurrent in Damien Hirst's "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable". It evokes many mythological themes, such as horror, fear, sex, death and female subjugation.

Hirst’s The Severed Head of Medusa, the highlight of "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable", is in the Pinault Collection. It was shown for the first time at the Palazzo Grassi (2017).
Damien Hirst's other artwork