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Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst - Briareus, 2012.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst – Briareus, 2012._____3658 x 2438 mm | 144 x 96 in_____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Hirst began work on the ‘’Entomology Paintings’’ in 2009. Each piece is made by placing hundreds of varieties of insect, butterfly and beetle species into Hammerite gloss paint, in intricate geometric patterns.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst - Briareus, 2012, detail.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst – Briareus, 2012, detail._____3658 x 2438 mm | 144 x 96 in_____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

The series is reminiscent of Hirst’s iconic series of butterfly wing ”Kaleidoscope” pieces, which were originally inspired by Victorian tea trays. They allude to Hirst’s long time interest in the nineteenth century fascination with Natural History and the irony involved in having to kill something in order to look at it.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst - Typhon, 2012.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst – Typhon, 2012. _____610 x 610 mm | 24 x 24 in_____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

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Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst – Judecca, 2012.____1829 x 1829 mm | 72 x 72 in____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

As with the butterfly – one of Hirst’s most enduring ”universal trigger” – the insects appeal to the artist partly because they retain the appearance of life in death.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst - Judecca, 2012.____1829 x 1829 mm | 72 x 72 in____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst – Judecca, 2012, detail.____1829 x 1829 mm | 72 x 72 in____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

The artist was initially drawn to the insects because, like the butterfly, they embody the fragility of life, retaining an iridescent beauty even in death. However, whilst the grandeur of the wings in the ”Kaleidoscope” series evoke stained glass windows, and are often assigned spiritual titles, the ”Entomology Paintings’’ are named after phases and characters in Dante Alighieri’s tortuous vision of the afterlife, the Divine Comedy. As Hirst explains, the paintings are: “beautiful and horrific at the same time, you can’t help but be drawn into it, seduced by it, but you want to run away from it.”

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst - Cocytus, 2012.____2438 x 3658 mm | 96 x 144 in____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst – Cocytus, 2012.____2438 x 3658 mm | 96 x 144 in____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst - Cocytus, 2012, detail.____2438 x 3658 mm | 96 x 144 in____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Entomology paintings by Damien Hirst – Cocytus, 2012, detail.____2438 x 3658 mm | 96 x 144 in____Image: Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

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This entry was posted on September 17, 2014 by in ART and tagged , , , , , .

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