As part of an extensive collection of prints by Damien Hirst called The Souls series from 2010, The Souls I (cool gold, cornflower blue, leaf green) is a print that shows a large green and gold butterfly with its wings outspread. Set against a white backdrop, the butterfly is created using a metallic foil block printing technique to produce a shimmering effect that reflects the way their wings reflect the light.
Across the entire of The Souls series there are four species of butterflies depicted in each print, within which are 80 colour variations, each presented as an edition of 15. The abundance of butterflies across the series reflects the various insects found in a meadow, each one unique. Hirst explains, “I love butterflies because when they are dead they look alive. The foil block gives them a feel similar to the actual butterflies in the way that they reflect the light. After ‘The Dead’ I had to do the butterflies because you can’t have one without the other.”
The Souls series is representative of Hirst’s fascination with the symbolism of the butterfly motif, creating a vast series that is reminiscent of the Pop art of Andy Warhol. The sheer scale on which Hirst works is crucial to this series that brings together themes around morality, life, love, faith and aesthetics.
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