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Dürer and Hirst Visions of Mortality Lead Bonhams Sale
Damien Hirst’s screenprint, ‘The Skull beneath the Skin’ (shown above), dates from 2005 and finds an echo in ‘Studio half Skull, half face’ of 2009, a colour screenprint with diamond dust. Both pieces, estimated at £5,000-7,000 each, are strong, hard-edged, reminders of mortality. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Important and powerful works reflecting the transience of human existence by 16th century master Albrecht Dürer and 21st century master Damien Hirst lead the Bonhams print sale in London on 12 July.

Dürer’s ‘The Knight, Death and the Devil,’ of 1513 is one of his most celebrated and intricately conceived engravings. It depicts a Christian knight riding resolutely through a bleak, hostile landscape menaced by the figures of death on his traditional pale horse and the devil with a pig’s snout. This very fine print is estimated at between £30,000-40,000.

‘St Jerome in his Study’, a Dürer engraving of 1514, shows the saint hard at work, the customary lion dozing pacifically in the foreground and a skull prominently displayed on the window ledge as a symbol of death’s presence in the midst of life.

Damien Hirst’s screenprint, ‘The Skull beneath the Skin’, dates from 2005 and finds an echo in ‘Studio half Skull, half face’ of 2009, a colour screenprint with diamond dust. Both pieces, estimated at £5,000-7,000 each, are strong, hard-edged, reminders of mortality.

A final piece on the same theme, Gerhard Richter’s ‘Skull with Candle’ of 1995, appears to adopt a softer approach but the juxtaposition of the candle flame, which will inevitably burn out or be extinguished, and the lifeless eye sockets of the upturned skull make a powerful statement. It is estimated at £2,500-3,500.

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