Virgin Mother (2005)

I cannot say that Damien Hirst is a favourite artist of mine, but his 2005 Virgin Mother sculpture certainly grabbed my attention. It is a large statue of a heavily pregnant woman which, when one approaches for further inspection, has had her right side's skin removed to show the nerves, sinews and, most interestingly of all, the baby within.

Such a sculpture is usually met with protests of disgust. It does not make for pleasant viewing, even though one concedes its novelty factor. Yet the piece’s title has strangely religious connotations. There is certainly no Maryan stereotyping at work here; this sculpture would look as out of place in a Roman church as anywhere else. It invites the viewer to consider the child within, who would be otherwise hidden, concealed by flesh and womb.

Too many pious folk this time of year behold the mother but not the Son, the bearer but not the Saviour. See beyond even the pregnancy and birth, all the way to Calvary and a vacated tomb.