'I think it was Thomas Hobbes who said people are like flies brushed off a wall. I like that metaphorically. Your whole life could be like points in space, like nearly nothing. If you stand back far enough you think people are just like flies, like the cycle of a fly is like your own life. When you make that connection with the paintings... it is like all the people in the world who die in a hundred years. That amount of death is pretty black.' (D. Hirst quoted in M. DArgenzio Like People, Like Flies: Damien Hirst Interviewed, The Agony and the Ecstasy: Selected Works from 1989-2004, Naples, 2004, p. 94).
Created the same year as the artists major retrospective at the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples, Apocalypse is a hauntingly beautiful work by Damien Hirst. The counterpoint to Hirst's famed butterfly paintings, the fly paintings are the darkly morose pictures, embodying the central themes of Hirst's work of simultaneously exposing the beauty and horror of life and its inevitable conclusion in death. Created by gluing thousands of flies' bodies onto a canvas, the origins of Damien Hirst's fly paintings relate back to Hirst's seminal 1990 work 'A Thousand Years', which charted the life cycle of flies contained within a glass vitrine. In using flies, Hirst found a vehicle in which to delve into his 'exploration into the deep profundities of life and death' (D. Hirst quoted in D. Hirst, 'I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now', Booth-Clibborn Editions; Reduced edition, London 2005, p.32).