Upon first inspection, Untitled (1999) has a superficial overload of kitsch: the pink heart and the exquisitely baroque pattern of the butterfly wings. There seems to be a certain chocolate-box sentimentality at play here that is simultaneously tragic with the trapped butterflies on the monochrome canvas. However, the saccharine composition has deeply sinister undertones. The viewer is inextricably aware of the fact that these are dead creatures trapped in household paint. Hirst takes the tradition of the memento mori to a new extreme into a large scale presentation of death itself, albeit pink and heart-shaped. Where in Dutch Old Master flower paintings an insect - usually a butterfly- was included to highlight the transience of life and beauty, Hirst has presented the dead butterflies themselves. The kaleidoscopic, iridescent beauty of the butterflies' wings is enticing but cannot camouflage the suffering and hopelessness of the tragic creatures.
"There's something sexy about it as well. It seems like something to do with girls. Kind of. Or an aspect of girls. Something about putting a pin through that kind of beauty. Trying to keep something beautiful like that forever. It's like in a relationship: do you want a relationship with a beautiful person-someone who looks beautiful; an accessory, straight out of Vogue? Or do you want a relationship with someone who is alive and obviously dying? I know what I want. I want both" (D. Hirst & G. Burn, On the Way to Work, London, 2001, p. 21).