To Lose is a signed aquatint in colours produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. Produced in 2008, the print shows a magnificent red butterfly in the centre of the composition. The butterfly’s wings are spread out across the composition, enabling the viewer to see all the details of the insect’s body, including the white detailing on its wings. Set against a plain black backdrop, the print emphasises the natural beauty of the butterfly, an insect which has become closely associated with Hirst himself.
Hirst was fascinated by butterflies because of the way they can be used to explore themes of life and death. The artist explains how butterflies embody the fragility of life and retain an iridescent beauty, even in death. Questions of life and death are often explored in Hirst’s art through his incorporation of insects, skulls and medicine into his artworks.
The butterfly also carries significant spiritual symbolism, meaning the print also touches on themes of religion and spiritualism. For the Greeks, the butterfly was used to depict the Psyche. In Christian imagery, butterflies have been used to signify the resurrection. Furthermore, the butterfly has long been a traditional symbol of the soul, and of the soul’s residence on Earth prior to transmigration to an Afterlife.