New Beginnings 3 is a block print from Damien Hirst’s New Beginnings series from 2011. Showing a large black and turquoise butterfly in the centre of the composition, the print is striking in its bright yellow, block colour backdrop.
Hirst contrasts the almost photographic depiction of the butterfly against solid, block colour to create a print that has an immediate and visceral visual impact. Combining the vernacular of the everyday with artificial colour, Hirst’s work appeals to a broad audience and the butterfly motif ties together themes around morality, life, love, faith and aesthetics.
The title of the series New Beginnings points to the highly symbolic nature of the butterfly that suggests the life cycle and ideas around life changing direction or beginning again. Hirst is hyper aware of the way in which the motif of the butterfly has been used by the Greeks to depict Psyche, the soul, and in Christian imagery represents resurrection. Indeed, the title of this series evokes common virtues found in a range of religions, reflecting Hirst’s fascination with spirituality and the human psyche.