In 2021, Damien unveiled ‘The Virtues’ (H9), his second print series after his “garish and messy and fragile” ‘Cherry Blossoms’ (2018-20) paintings. The monumental canvases have been translated here into a vivid series of eight laminated Giclée prints on aluminium composite panels which captures the ephemeral, colourful blooms on sprawling tree branches.

Ultimately about the spontaneous joy of spring, ‘Cherry Blossoms’ heralded Hirst’s self-professed “move away from Minimalism and the idea of the imaginary mechanical painter”. A series of 107 canvases of various sizes, ‘Cherry Blossoms’ is derived from the artist’s investigations into the relationships between abstraction and figuration. Returning to the ideas and aesthetics of the 19th century Pointillist painters Georges Seurat and Pierre Bonnard, the paintings are built up of “flashes” of a vast array of colours that work together to create a depth and vivacity to the visually predominant pinks and whites of the blossom trees. Working with the vast scale of the series, Hirst would fill his studio with canvases and work on a number of them simultaneously. In this way, image creation became symbiotic with the immersive viewing experience of them. Hirst works effectively beyond the limits of the visual field offered by one canvas just as the viewer is completely overwhelmed in front of the huge paintings.

‘The Virtues’ further plays with the idea of the possibilities and limits of human perception. The images, derived from the painted ‘Cherry Blossoms’ canvases, show recognisable sections of the trees only seen partially as if through a window or from inside the tree itself. The focus is less on trees as a subject matter and more on the sheer beauty of the small moments of colour that make them. As Hirst said, “these prints are about the momentary, the insane transience of beauty – a tree in full crazy blossom against a clear blue sky. How can you argue with that?”

Hirst’s fascination with the incredible ephemerality of the cherry blossom is echoed in the artwork titles, with each print named for The Eight Virtues of Bushidō according to Nitobe Inazō – Justice, Courage, Mercy, Politeness, Honesty, Honour, Loyalty and Control. Nitobe’s book, ‘Bushidō: The Soul of Japan’, narrates for Western audiences the Samurai code of ethics. Within the book, Nitobe also speaks on the cherry blossom, noting that it “carries no dagger or poison under its beauty, which is ever ready to depart life at the call of nature, whose colours are never gorgeous, and whose light fragrance never palls. Beauty of colour and of form is limited in its showing; it is a fixed quality of existence, whereas fragrance is volatile, ethereal as the breathing of life.”

In ‘The Virtues’ Hirst once more harnesses the possibilities of printmaking to experiment with technology, making his work available to new audiences along the way. Not only was its edition size open to public demand during a one-week application period, ‘The Virtues’ was the first print series for which both HENI Leviathan and Damien Hirst accepted payment in cryptocurrency. Reproduced in extraordinarily high resolution, in ‘The Virtues’ Hirst shrinks his monumental canvases into accessible prints, retaining the tactility of their captivatingly thick impasto and the vibrancy of their colours.


H9-1, H9-2, H9-3, H9-4, H9-5, H9-6, H9-7 & H9-8


120 x 96 cm each


Laminated Giclée print on aluminium composite panel

Edition Size

H9-1 (1005); H9-2 (760); H9-3 (817), H9-4 (1549); H9-5 (728); H9-6 (693); H9-7 (1067); H9-8 (862)


Signed & numbered on the label on the reverse


We estimate that the earliest completion date for delivery will be three weeks from the date of purchase. Timing is dependent on COVID-19 restrictions and delays.




Condition report available upon request

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