The Dead (turquoise, panama copper) is a signed foil block print in colours on Arches paper produced by renowned contemporary artist, Damien Hirst. In the print, Hirst renders a skull in the centre of the composition. Hirst uses a bold turquoise with hints of panama copper which contrast strikingly with the plain background.
The print, produced in 2009, is part of the artist’s The Dead series. The series is composed of thirty-one prints, all of which depict a floating skull. The skulls rendered in each print in The Dead series are identical, unlike Hirst’s other series, I Once Was What You Are, You Will Be What I Am (2007), in which each skull is slightly different. However, Hirst does use a unique combination of colours for each skull, which differs from the black and white approach he takes in I Once Was What You Are, You Will Be What I Am (2007), and Memento (2008).
Skulls have assumed a central role in Hirst’s iconography. Alongside butterflies and diamonds, skulls are closely associated with the artist’s visual language. The skull itself acts as a memento mori, a visual reminder of the inevitability of death. Indeed, Hirst is fascinated by death and frequently explores this theme in his other artworks.