The Dead (lime green, island copper) is a signed foil block print in colours on Arches paper produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. In this print, Hirst renders a skull in a variety of green tones and hints of orange island copper. The skull appears to float in the centre of the composition against the plain, white backdrop.
The print, created in 2009, is one of thirty-one prints that form Hirst’s The Dead series. As indicated by the print’s title the central theme of the series is death. Throughout the series, Hirst depicts the same skull, yet makes each print different through the addition of colour. Hirst choses two colours, often bold and clashing, as seen in The Dead (lime green, island copper), which enliven the prints, despite their subject matter. The skull acts as a memento mori, a visual reminder of the inevitability of death. The bright and lively colours that Hirst uses throughout The Dead series contrast with the theme of death, however, Hirst explains that “you can frighten people with death or an idea of their own mortality, or it can actually give them vigour.” The use of colour in this series is an attempt from the artist to invigorate the viewer to stop fearing death.
The Dead series is not the first time Hirst has explored the theme of death in his art. From a young age, the artist was fascinated with questions of life and death. When he was sixteen, Hirst used to visit the anatomy department of Leeds Medical School where he would produce life drawings of the various bodies he encountered there.