Damien Hirst in his studio, 2019. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Picture © Prudence Cumming Associates.
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The exhibition in detail

Cherry Blossoms is one of the most recent series of paintings by the British artist Damien Hirst.

Only 30 paintings, specially chosen by the artist, are on display here, but the series has 107 in total! Damien Hirst has given a unique, poetic name to each painting.

In the eye of the painter

Family Fun: In the visitor guide you’ll find a map of the rooms and works – ask an adult for help!

Look at the work A New Beginning’s Blossom. The flowers are smaller than in the other paintings and the leaves are only beginning to emerge. You can see the blue sky! Do you think this painting symbolizes the blooming, or the dropping of the cherry blossoms?

A New Beginning’s Blossom, 2018. Private collection. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates. .

Damien Hirst was born on June 7, 1965 in Bristol, England, but grew up in Leeds. At the age of 21, he left for London to study art. With other artist friends, he created the “Young British Artists” group, and gradually become known for his experimental work.

He sculpts, paints, draws, creates installations, and more. His works are all very different, strange and even disturbing at times. They are shown in museums all over the world!

Damien Hirst in his studio, 2020. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.

Hirst conceived of this series as a cycle of rebirth. The cherry tree’s blossoming represents this concept perfectly.
Two paintings in the series make direct reference to Japan: Hanami Blossom and Sakura Life Blossom.

Hanami is a Japanese word that means “watching flowers”. Every year during the cherry blossom months, the Japanese get together to admire the flowers and picnic under the branches. The height of the blossoming only lasts ten days, so you have to hurry to enjoy it!

Hanami Blossom 2018. Private collection. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.

Did you know ?

Cherry trees blossom between the months of March and April.

The Japanese ornamental cherry tree, or sakura, can turn all shades of pink, from white to red! But it bears no fruit.

Look at the cherry blossoms!
Their color and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
Yet mindless
The spring comes again.

Ikkyu, 15th century

This poem by the Japanese monk and poet Ikkyu is a haiku. It celebrates the beauty of cherry trees in bloom and their brief blossoming period.

A haiku is traditionally composed of three verses. The first verse has five syllables, the second has seven, and the last, five. It is a very short poem that seeks to capture the present moment. It generally evokes the contemplation of nature or the seasons.

Hirst is particularly fond of dots as an artistic pattern.

This is from the Spot Paintings series (1986-2011). See how perfect and evenly spaced out the dots are? Almost mechanical, right?

Look at this one, from the Colour Space Paintings series (2016). The dots, still regularly shaped, are closer together, greater in number, and are starting to overlap.

In the Veil Paintings series (2017), the small dots now merge together.

Little by little, all of these works led the artist to paint the ones you’re seeing here today!

Hirst makes his flowers like dots: his paintbrush touches down on the canvas and leaves its mark. These flowers become a pattern that he reproduces from one painting to the next.

Image gallery

Abalone Acetone Powder, 1991. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.


Veil of Logic, 2017. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.


The Valley of the Shadow of Death Blossom 2018. Private collection. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.


Do the patterns of these paintings remind you of works from other art movements? Impressionism and Action Painting!

Impressionism is a pictorial movement from the 19th century. Artists used small dabs of paint (strokes, points) to depict what they saw and create an impression of reality. Hirst seizes on this technique in his own way to reinterpret cherry trees, but in the studio!
You may know the great masters of this movement, like Vincent Van Gogh!

Action Painting is an abstract art movement that emerged in New York in the 1950s.
This movement is known for two techniques: dripping, and all-over painting. Hirst uses both of these techniques. He lets the paint drip freely over the canvas or splashes it on, covering the entire picture. Look at the edges of the paintings. See how the paint drips? Everything overflows!

Hirst describes “diving into the canvases and bombarding them with paint from start to finish”!

Cherry Blossoms (detail), 2018. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.

In the eye of the painter

Vincent Van Gogh painted Almond Blossom. Have fun comparing it to the painting Wonderful World Blossom. What do they have in common?

Image gallery

Wonderful World Blossom 2018. Private collection. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved ADAGP 2021. Photo Prudence Cuming Associates.


Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890. © Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.








Our Young Visitor’s Guide is available at the entrance of the exhibition