Eternal Rest is an etching by Damien Hirst from 2011. The print shows a coral and blue butterfly with its wings outspread, set against a stark, black backdrop. The bright tones of the butterfly in the centre are set in stark contrast to the dark, solid background.
Rendering the fine detail of the butterfly wings and setting this against the dark backdrop, Hirst produces a highly simplistic image that finds universally engaging triggers. This contrast between bold block colours and the realistic image plays with Hirst’s concern with facts and truth that images are assumed to depict.
The butterfly motif is a prominent figure that Hirst has used throughout his career to bring together themes around morality, life, love, faith and aesthetics. Speaking of his obsession with butterflies Hirst has explained, “I think rather than be personal you have to find universal triggers: everyone’s frightened of glass, everyone’s frightened of sharks, everyone loves butterflies.” The butterfly motif appears both in Hirst’s printed editions as well as in installations where visitors are situated in a room of live butterflies.