The Dead (Westminster blue, silver gloss) 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 bold and deep Westminster blue with silver gloss shading against a plain white backdrop. The skull appears to float in the centre of the composition, staring 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. Like many of his other artworks, death is the central theme of the series, as represented by the skull. Unlike other series, such as I Once Was What You Are, You Will Be What I Am (2007), and Memento (2008), Hirst incorporates bright and vibrant colours into the prints, countering the sombre tone often associated with artworks that deal with death.
Hirst has had a long-standing interest in questions of life and death. When the artist was sixteen, he used to go to the anatomy department of Leeds Medical School to produce life drawings of the cadavers he encountered there. Hirst also created artworks out of dead animals and insects, such as his iconic installation, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991) which was a 14-foot long tiger shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde.