The Devil on Earth
Oil on canvas
38.1 x 45.7 cm
The small painting The Devil On Earth illustrates the close-up vision of a person relighting the cigarette that he holds twisted between his lips. The tight framing preserves the anonymity of the model while the action focuses on his gesture. With a photographic precision, the canvas faithfully reproduces the details: the flame of the lighter, the scars that mark the character's skin.
Damien Hirst chooses to depict by painting a gesture as harmless as lighting a cigarette. However, it confers an evil dimension to the subject by the choice of the title. The canvas thus appears as a modern memento mori, recalling the fatal destiny of its motif. The cigarette, real or painted, stands out as a haunting leitmotif in Hirst's work, as does its corollary, cancer, to which the artist dedicated a whole series of works in the same period.
The Devil On Earth was shown for the first time by Pinault Collection during the exhibition "Where Are We Going? in 2006 at Palazzo Grassi in Venice.