Damien Hirst is an English artist and member of the 'Young British Artists'. He is also one of the most prolific modern artists in Britain today.
This bronze figure, standing 2.5 metres tall, was completed in August 2006 especially for Beyond Limits – Sotheby's exhibition of modern sculpture, which is held annually at Chatsworth House.
Little is known about Saint Bartholomew other than he was one of the twelve Apostles and is often identified in religious literature as Nathanael. Tradition holds that after the Resurrection of Christ, he preached in India and Armenia, and was flayed alive in Armenia by order of a local king.
The sculpture stands on a round table which is scattered with the various tools that Hirst used to make the original work. Hirst has said his inspiration for the piece "comes from memories I have of woodcuts and etchings I remember seeing when I was younger. As Saint Bartholomew was a martyr who was skinned alive, he was often used by artists and doctors to show the anatomy of the human body and this is also what I've done. He holds his own skin over his arm and he holds a scalpel and a pair of scissors in his hands so that his exposure and pain are seemingly self-inflicted. It's beautiful yet tragic, and like Saint Sebastian his face shows no pain. I added the scissors because I thought Edward Scissorhands was in a similarly tragic yet difficult position – it has a feel of a rape of the innocents about it."