General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 1 Mar 2021/6 Grass
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Damien Hirst’s version of the Aztec Sunstone

Damien Hirst and the Aztec Sunstone

From April to December 2017 Damien Hirst’s extraordinarily flamboyant, tongue-in-cheek exhibition Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable took over the Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana museums in Venice, to very mixed acclaim. Hugely expensive and demanding years of preparation, it included a massive re-interpretation of the famous Mexica Sunstone, called ‘Calendar Stone’ in the exhibit... (Written by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

In the spirit of the project (look for the very convincing film which sets the scene on Netflix), the bronze ‘Calendar Stone’, measuring 422.5 × 475.8 × 172.3 cm, was, like the other pieces, ‘heavily encrusted in corals and other marine life’. The label accompanying the piece read ‘Time and cosmic order were indelibly intertwined in Mesoamerica. This calendar’s concentric rings symbolise both specific temporal measurements – including the twenty-day month – and broader cosmological concepts, such as the four world epochs that were believed to have passed. The central figure’s clawed hands and half-skeletal face are depicted upturned, the body hidden, suggesting the disc may originally have been viewed from above.’

Whilst at first glance Hirst’s ‘Calendar Stone’ looks remarkably similar to the original, the differences are soon apparent. Start with the mashed-up central face - best seen by following the deskgram link below...

Photo by, courtesy of and many thanks to Mark English (Mark English Associates).

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Feb 17th 2019

Explore close-up views of the piece on one artist’s very creative blog
Read FAD magazine’s review of the exhibition
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