Regeneration is a signed etching produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. The print, made in 2009, is part of the artist’s iconic Butterfly series. In Regeneration, Hirst captures the natural beauty of the butterfly, a magnificent insect that the artist was fascinated with. The print depicts a beautiful butterfly with its wings outstretched so the viewer can see the intricate details of the pattern across its wings. The white and black butterfly has two red spots, and the insect is set against a dark black background.
The butterfly is one of Hirst’s most popular motifs, alongside skulls and diamonds, and the artist frequently incorporates them into his work. Hirst uses butterflies to explore questions of life and death because, for the artist, the butterfly embodies the fragility of life and retains an iridescent beauty even in death. Other works by Hirst that use butterflies as their source of inspiration are those that compose the Kaleidoscope series. The series was based on a Victorian tea tray which was decorated with intricate patterns of butterfly wings.
The butterfly also carries significant spiritual symbolism. The Greeks used butterflies to depict the Psyche and soul and in Christian imagery, butterflies have been used to signify the resurrection. The butterfly’s symbolic heritage is significant as Hirst has always been fascinated with themes of life, death and religion.