Skull 158 by Andy Warhol is one of four screenprints that the artist created by layering vivid colors over the sketch of a human skull. Based on a photograph taken by Warhol’s assistant, this print is an example of Warhol’s interest with light, using photography as a way to experiment its relationship to an object. Skull 158 uses a blend of cool colors contrasted by a blot of yellow to create a sense of the innate facets of human nature and the vibrancy that takes one away from the obscure.
Skull 158 by Andy Warhol as Part of his Larger Body of Work
Andy Warhol’s Skulls series represents an important shift in Warhol’s work. This shift was possibly influenced by Warhol being critically shot in 1968, an event which profoundly affected his life and art. Historically in art, the human skull represents the theme “vanitas,“ known as mortality or the shortness of life. Thus, Warhol’s skulls may serve as a motif or a part of Warhol’s desire to evoke the ephemerality of the human condition. With the help of assistants, Warhol was able to create multiple prints of the subject, varying in color combinations and the level of individual vibrancy.