As part of an extensive collection of prints by Damien Hirst called The Souls series from 2010, The Souls I (prairie copper, oriental gold, imperial purple) is a print that shows a large purple and orange 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.
Hirst speaks of his motivations for depicting the butterflies in this series, explaining: “I love butterflies because when they are dead they look alive. The foil block makes the butterflies have a feel similar to the actual butterflies in the way they reflect the light. After ‘The Dead’ I had to do the butterflies because you can’t have one without the other.”
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. 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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