Damien Hirst’s ‘Tribulation’ from the expertly crafted ‘Butterfly Etchings’ series from 2009 takes a
singular butterfly as its subject as it emphasises the beauty of the insect’s form and colour in
intricate detail.

The stark colour contrasts between the black background and the neon green butterfly both recalls a
museum display and highlights the spiritual symbolism of the butterfly, nodding to its historical use
by the Greeks to depict Psyche, the soul, and in Christian imagery to signify resurrection.

Though the butterfly is among Hirst’s favoured motifs, this work differs from his usual treatment of
the subject as he rarely offers his viewers the opportunity to study a single butterfly. Even further,
the butterfly in ‘Tribulation’ is enlarged like a photograph from a science book, revealing the
complex lines of its wings and Details of its body which practically fades into the background.

Between death and life, science and religion, the butterflies maintain an unwavering display of
colour and life, a phenomenon eloquently captured in ‘Tribulation’.


47 x 39 cm


Etching on paper

Edition Size

45 + 5 AP


Signed & numbered on the front


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.

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