Hirst sculpture auctioned in aid of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

At last night's inaugural charity gala, Hirst's magnificent gilded unicorn raised €4.5 million for the Foundation's environmental work.

'Golden Myth' (2014) © Damien Hirst/Science Ltd., All rights reserved, DACS 2014

24 July 2014

On July 23rd the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation held its inaugural charity gala in St. Tropez, at the winery Domaine Bertaud Belieu. The auction, which was conducted by Simon de Pury, succeeded in raising over $25 million for the Foundation's environmental causes.

Hirst's 'Golden Myth' (2014), a gilded bronze unicorn on a golden plinth, with an anatomical cross-section revealing the taught sinews and musculature of a horse raised $6 million, and was included alongside a piece by Picasso which raised $1 million. Hirst's sculpture raised the evening's largest donation.

Standing at over three and a half metres in height, the work continues Hirst's enduring investigation into the relationships between art, religion and science. Similarly to the iconic 'The Golden Calf' (2008) and the gilded mammoth 'Gone but not Forgotten' (2014), 'Golden Myth' is an example of Hirst’s use of elements of the mythical or spiritual to explore the more unfathomable realities of life, or as he describes it: ‘exploding the myth, to make something real’.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation was established in 1998 to aid pressing environmental and humanitarian issues through grant making, campaigning and the media. Areas of focus include; land, oceans and species conservation, climate change and disaster relief and recent projects include grants to both the Antarctic Ocean Alliance, a coalition of over a dozen organizations working on five continents to secure the world's largest network of marine reserves, and another to Concern Worldwide, providing 430,000 people in Tanzania, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Darfur with sustainable access to clean water.

On the occasion of the charity auction, Leonardo DiCaprio stated: "Today we stand at the 11th Hour – facing a tipping point of environmental crises unprecedented in human history.  Not since the age of the dinosaurs have so many species of plants and animals become extinct in such a short period of time. We must now make an effort to protect the rich biodiversity that could allow nature to eventually recover. The good news is there are solutions to these massive problems. Efforts like tonight will start addressing them."