Sceptic is a signed screen print in colours on Somerset Satin paper produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. The print, made in 2006, shows a large diamond set against a plain black backdrop. The diamond is composed of hundreds of multi-coloured butterflies, meaning that the bold and colourful shape contrasts in a striking manner with the dark background. The butterflies are arranged meticulously in a geometric pattern which captivates the viewer’s attention.
Along with skulls and diamonds, the butterfly is one of Hirst’s most popular motifs and the insect is frequently incorporated into the artist’s work, most notably in his Kaleidoscope series in which the artist produced spectacular patterns of concentric circles composed of butterfly wings. The butterfly patterns that Hirst often creates in his works, as seen in Sceptic, were inspired by a Victorian tea tray found by Hirst which was decorated with delicate patterns of butterfly wings.
The butterfly is an insect imbued with symbolic significance. Butterflies were used by the Greeks to represent the Psyche and the soul and are also found in Christian imagery to signify the resurrection. Hirst’s use of the butterfly in his art therefore enables him to touch on themes of life, death and religion in his prints.