The Warrior and the Bear


Silver, paint

Overall dimensions: 187.5 × 78 × 48 cm (73 13/16 × 30 11/16 × 18 7/8 in.)

A young woman rides triumphantly, even wildly, on a standing bear roaring with fury. It refers to the arkteia, an ancient Greek initiation rite where Athenian girls imitated bears, danced and performed sacrifices. This act of orchestrated savagery served to appease Artemis, the goddess of hunting, after the Athenians killed a bear.

Entitled The Warrior and the Bear, this silver sculpture features many exceptional details, partly hidden by the artificial proliferation of coral, especially on the bear’s finely chiselled hair. Hirst depicted this scene twice, preferring to celebrate ferocity rather than atone for animal qualities.

Hirst's The Warrior and the Bear was exhibited for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the 2017 "Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable" show at the Palazzo Grassi.
Damien Hirst's other artwork