Hirst's installation In And Out Of Love is shown for the first time since its creation in 1991, comprising a room full of live butterflies, feeding on sugar water and fruit which visitors are advised to go through at a "steady, slow pace", next to an adjoining room of dead butterflies on monochrome canvases.
Visitors will be assaulted by the smell of dying flies and a rotting cow's head in A Thousand Years (1990), where flies emerge from maggots, eat from the animal's head and die on an Insectocutor.
For The Love Of God, the human skull covered in 8,601 flawless diamonds - the work Hirst says he is most proud of - is on display at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall, with its own security.
The retrospective also features a shark suspended in formaldehyde in The Physical.
Impossibility of Death In the Mind Of Someone Living (1991), Hirst's largest spot painting, the Pharmacy (1992) installation of medicine bottles, spin paintings, and hundreds of used cigarettes in a giant ashtray in Crematorium (1996).
At the end of the exhibition, which opens on Wednesday, visitors can spend £700 on a limited edition roll of butterfly wallpaper, or part with £36,800 for a plastic skull decorated with "household gloss" in the style of one of Hirst's spin paintings.
Other objects on sale include a butterfly-print deckchair for £310, and a spot painting-style skateboard "stamped with signature" for £480.
Hirst said he had been asked to do a retrospective since he was 28, but he had shied away from the idea.
I think I was avoiding it because I was afraid of it in some ways, the idea is more frightening than the reality. You have to get to the point when you are ready to look back.
Damien Hirst, Tate Modern, London, SE1 9TG.
Starts 4 April - Until 9 Sep
Details:020 7887 8888