The Dead (turquoise, cool gold) is a signed foil block print in colours on Arches paper produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. In this print, Hirst depicts a large floating skull. Hirst renders the skull in an unfamiliar mixture of colours, using bold and bright turquoise with tones of cool gold. The skull contrasts with the plain white background of the composition as it stares out at the viewer of the print.
The print, made in 2009, is part of the artist’s The Dead series, which is composed of thirty-one prints. While the skull in each print is the same, Hirst diversifies the series through his creative use of colour. Each skull has a unique combination of two colours, meaning no two skulls are alike.
The bold and bright colours Hirst uses throughout the series seem to counter the series’ sombre theme of death. When discussing why he uses art to explore questions of life and death, Hirst explains: “you can frighten people with death or an idea of their own mortality, or it can actually give them vigour.” The vibrant colours used throughout the series reflects this desire to invigorate the viewer and encourage them not to fear death.