Memento 7 is a print from Damien Hirst’s Memento series from 2008. The print shows an image of a human skull in the centre of the composition, emerging from a stark, black backdrop. The series comprises six prints of butterflies, six of skulls and one of a diamond skull.
Fascinated by death, the skull is an important piece of iconography throughout Hirst’s artistic career. Drawing on traditional art historical themes, the title of the series is indicative of the Latin phrase ‘memento mori’, that translates in English to ‘remember that you will die’ and is a common theme in 17th century still life paintings.
This series is notable in that it was made a year after one of Hirst’s most iconic sculptures, For the Love of God (2007), that took the form of a diamond-studded skull. The skulls depicted in the Memento series, like Memento 7, are a stark reminder of death, especially when considered alongside the butterflies that also feature in the first half of the series. Standing in for the transitory nature of life, Hirst sets the butterfly motif in dialogue with the skull to make clear his investigation of metamorphosis and resurrection.