From Impressionism to action painting, Damien Hirst, The Virtues brings the viewer's gaze back to the lightness and joy of spring. The artist's desire to create a series dedicated to the most meaningful tree of the Japanese culture. For Damien Hirst, cherry blossom has an ambivalent meaning.
“Cherry Blossoms are about beauty and life and death. They’re extreme – there’s something hopeful yet hopeless about them. They’re art but taken from nature. They’re about desire and how we process love and why we need it, but also 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? It’s been so good to make these prints, to be completely lost in colour for a while. Blossoms are optimistic and bright yet fragile, just like we are, and I hope that The Virtues can remind us to always try and get the most from life.”
The series consists of eight works, each representing a virtue. In Japan, the cherry blossom has a very strong symbolism, recalling the culture of respect, patience, inner peace and nature.
Damien Hirst has thus paid tribute to this plant by dedicating eight limited edition works to it. The works are each named after one of the eight virtues of the Bushidō code of conduct: justice, courage, mercy, politeness, honesty, honour, loyalty and control.