Damien Hirst is a British Conceptual artist known for his controversial take on beauty and found-art objects. Along with Liam Gillick, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Lucas, Hirst was part of the Young British Artists movement that rose to prominence in the early 1990s. “I have always been aware that you have to get people listening before you can change their minds,” he reflected. “Any artist's big fear is being ignored, so if you get debate, that's great.” Born on June 7, 1965 in Bristol, United Kingdom, Hirst was raised in Leeds. As a student at Goldsmiths College in London, his work caught the eye of the collector and gallerist Charles Saatchi, who became an early patron. Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991)—a large vitrine containing an Australian tiger shark suspended in formaldehyde—was financed by Saatchi and helped to launch the artist’s career. Hirst went on to win the coveted Turner Prize in 1995. In 2012, he showed what went on to be one of his most controversial work in decades, the installation In and Out of Love, which consisted of two white windowless rooms in which over 9,000 butterflies flitted around and died. In 2015 Hirst opened the Newport Street Gallery in London, which grew from his long-term ambition to share his art collection with the public. The artist lives and works in London, United Kingdom. His works are held in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Rubell Family Collection in Miami.

Damien Hirst ‘The Empresses – Theodora’ Limited Edition

£4,950

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Details

Medium: Acrylic on board layered with glitter resin

Format: Original

Size: 39 x 39″

Signed: Yes, by the artist

Condition: Excellent

‘The Empresses’ series (H-03, 2022) represents a new chapter in Damien Hirst’s ongoing exploration of the butterfly as a conceptual symbol of freedom, religion, life, and death.

This is one of five in a series consisting of laminated Giclée prints on aluminium composite, enhanced with glitter through screen printing. Each print features images of red and black butterfly wings, meticulously arranged into a unique, kaleidoscope-like pattern. The carefully positioned wings create an illusion of movement, transforming the patterns and making each print appear to capture the butterflies in various stages of flight.

The five piece series pays homage to five major historical female figures from around the world that have often been sidelined in order to highlight the achievements of their male counterparts. Not only does the metaphor of the butterfly represent complex themes of metamorphosis, but also expresses the return of these five women into the western historical canon as icons of progress and leadership that until now have been largely overlooked.

The Empress Theodora (c.490 – 548 AD) is generally known for being the wife of Emperor Justinian, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century. However, Theodora played a key role in Justinian’s progressive political amendments and she is now being rewritten into history to acknowledge her own triumphs.

Coming from humble origins, Justinian transgressed societal norms in his marriage to Theodora. Although she was not an official ruler, it is universally believed that she had considerable say in his reforms, acting as equal partners to bring about this change. Theodora’s most notable political involvement concerned her advocation for female rights in the Byzantine Empire. Theodora’s policies including the condemning the trafficking of women, enforcing a death penalty for convicted rapists, preventing the killing of women who committed adultery, and expanding female rights and guardianship over their children and property.

Theodora’s power together with her husband unequivocally reformed the Byzantine empire leading to its legendary wealth and prosperity. Theodora is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church and in the Oriental Orthodox Church and is known for her iconic portrait depiction in the San Vitale mosaics of Ravenna which were astoundingly ahead of their time. Hirst revives her spirit and triumphs in this contemporary piece, interweaving ancient connotations that continue to pertain to our modern world.

(estimate includes ARR, finders fee & taxes)

Damien Hirst is a British Conceptual artist known for his controversial take on beauty and found-art objects. Along with Liam Gillick, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Lucas, Hirst was part of the Young British Artists movement that rose to prominence in the early 1990s. “I have always been aware that you have to get people listening before you can change their minds,” he reflected. “Any artist's big fear is being ignored, so if you get debate, that's great.” Born on June 7, 1965 in Bristol, United Kingdom, Hirst was raised in Leeds. As a student at Goldsmiths College in London, his work caught the eye of the collector and gallerist Charles Saatchi, who became an early patron. Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living (1991)—a large vitrine containing an Australian tiger shark suspended in formaldehyde—was financed by Saatchi and helped to launch the artist’s career. Hirst went on to win the coveted Turner Prize in 1995. In 2012, he showed what went on to be one of his most controversial work in decades, the installation In and Out of Love, which consisted of two white windowless rooms in which over 9,000 butterflies flitted around and died. In 2015 Hirst opened the Newport Street Gallery in London, which grew from his long-term ambition to share his art collection with the public. The artist lives and works in London, United Kingdom. His works are held in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Rubell Family Collection in Miami.

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