Reveal is a signed etching produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. Made in 2009, the print shows a beautiful butterfly. The butterfly is set in the centre of the composition and the yellow and white of the butterfly’s wings contrasts with the black background, meaning attention is drawn towards its spectacular wings.
Reveal is part of Hirst’s Butterfly series, a collection of etchings which all showcase the natural beauty of the butterfly. The butterfly is an insect that has become closely associated with Hirst and his visual language. Alongside skulls and diamonds, butterflies are one of the artist's most well-known motifs. Hirst’s most iconic use of butterflies was arguably in 1991, when the artist produced an installation in which butterflies emerged from pupae attached to white painted canvases kept in a humid exhibition room. The artist also created the Kaleidoscope paintings, in which he produced mesmerising patterns of concentric circles composed of butterfly wings.
For Hirst, butterflies embody the fragility of life because they retain an iridescent beauty even in death. The use of butterflies enables the artist to explore questions of life and death throughout his artworks, something important for Hirst as he explains: “art’s about life and it can’t really be about anything else … there isn’t anything else.”