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Published as a set of four prints in editions of 50, the Cathedral series by Damien Hirst shows some of the artist’s most iconic imagery. Titled after famous cathedrals around the world, the prints in the Cathedral series show intricate patterns inspired by religious iconography in cathedrals made up of many various butterfly wings.
The prints in the Cathedral series directly reference stained-glass windows in their complex, geometric patterns and are reminiscent of Hirst’s famous ‘Kaleidoscope paintings’ that can be located throughout his career, the first from 2001 titled It’s A Wonderful World. The Cathedral series can most obviously be compared to Hirst’s Superstition series (2006), a series of kaleidoscopic paintings that take their form as pointed arch shaped canvas, mimicking the windows in a cathedral. In their beauty and precision, obscuring the wings of butterflies into an abstract pattern, the Cathedral series synthesises Hirst’s fascination with the intersection between religion, aesthetics and science that govern humanity.
The kaleidoscopic patterns that make up the Cathedral set are instantly recognisable as Hirst’s and are some of his most complex. Unlike many of his kaleidoscopic works where the palette is restrained and tonal, this series uses contrasting colours and, in some instances, retains the wholeness of the butterfly as a motif. The complex patterns are rhythmic and eye catching, producing a spiritual and kinetic energy in their colour and form.