Testino, one of Princess Diana’s favourite snappers, posted the image online. Picture: Instagram

London - It's more than a year since they spotted each other. Now Damien Hirst has transformed his girlfriend Sophie Cannell into a work of art.

Britain’s richest artist, famed for his pickled shark, is pictured daubing the naked 26-year-old former ballerina with multi-coloured polka dots in a portrait by fashion photographer Mario Testino.

Testino, one of Princess Diana’s favourite snappers, posted the image online with the caption: "Collaborating with my friend Damien Hirst in turning his girlfriend into artwork". 

Hirst, 54, and Cannell - who is only two years older than the eldest of his three sons - have been dating since May 2018 after meeting at Chiltern Firehouse.

The pair appear to have a picture-perfect life together, with the aspiring actress sharing candid photographs of the two to celebrate his birthday last month.

It is not the first time Hirst, who is worth £250-million, has been inspired by a younger muse. For his 2017 show, Treasures From The Wreck Of The Unbelievable, he made a statue of his then girlfriend, actress and model Katie Keight, 29.

Hirst has created almost 1 500 spot paintings throughout his career, producing the first few dozen of them himself before bestowing the task on a team of assistants.

The Bristol-born artist has said the paintings came from his "phenomenal love of colour". However, he later confessed the idea was taken from abstract painter Larry Poons.

Two of his works, Pyronin Y and Oleoylsarcosine, featuring grids of multi-coloured dots, were stolen from a Notting Hill gallery in 2013.

Hirst’s formaldehyde-preserved tiger shark, which he titled The Physical Impossibility Of Death In The Mind Of Someone Living, became a symbol of the Young British Artists movement.

Daily Mail