Danger of sharks in Rome

Danger of sharks in Rome

On 8th of June the Borghese Gallery will host the solo exhibition Archeology Now of the British artist Damien Hirst, overseen by curators Anna Coliva and Mario Codognato. More than 80 works by the famous artist will enter into dialogue with the masterpieces of the museum’s collection: Bernini, Canova, and other masters of the past.

The creator of the acclaimed shark in formaldehyde (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, 1991), sold to a private collection for over $ 8 million, will bring the works of the series Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable to Rome. Made of bronze, metal, marble, and coral, the work of Damien Hirst will be inserted among the masterpieces owned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, celebrating the desire for variety held by the founder of the Gallery in the heart of Rome.

For the first time in 2017 these works were exhibited in Venice at Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana. The exhibition featured 189 objects raised from a sunken ship near the African coast by a group of archaeologists funded by Hirst. In Rome, in addition to these works, the drawings from the “Colour Space” series will be presented for the first time to the Italian public. The gigantic sculpture “Hydra and Kali” will be placed in The Secret Gardens of Villa Borghese.


Under the supervision of Francesca Cappelletti, the new museum director, the project was carried out with the generous support of Prada. Damien Hirst has always been a special artist to Miuccia Prada: in 2013 from a collaboration with the brand a limited collection of bags called Entomology was launched. “How much are you prepared to bypass your anxiety for the sake of a bag?” – an extraordinary collaboration between Prada and Hirst took place under this motto. The handbags were decorated with various wonders of the insect world: beetles and butterflies, but it did not stop fashion lovers from appreciating them. The entire limited collection of 20 bags was sold in two days through a silent auction.


Damien Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He is one of the most famous members of the Young British Artists (YBA) group and his famous shark has become a symbol of Britart worldwide. In 1988 he curated the acclaimed Freeze exhibition, which launched the careers of several of the movement’s participants, and Hirst himself was noticed by the famous collector Charles Saatchi.

Death is one of the main themes for the artist. In his works, he uses butterflies, stuffed animals, corals and precious metals.

“Rembrandt, Velasquez, Goya, I think they were all thinking about the commercial aspects of art. I believe I’m only doing what any of these artists would be doing if they were alive.” – the artist replies to the criticism on the cost of his works. In 2020 Damien Hirst was considered to be the richest British artist by the Sunday Times, with an estimated $ 384 million worth.

The exhibition will be open to the public from 8 June to 8 November 2021.

Details on the site:


Olga Obukhovich

16 of May 2021

Image © Prada and Damien Hirst/Science Ltd., All rights reserved, DACS 2013
Damien Hirst, Children of a Dead King, 2010. Bronze. Private Collection | Foto: © Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2021 / SIAE 2021