What is the name given for the final painting of an artist before they die?

For example:

It was his _______.

This painting was his _______.

  • 3
    Maybe his ultimate work? Certainly it would be that under one definition of ultimate
    – Jim
    Mar 8, 2019 at 5:19
  • Unfinished is pretty well established.
    – Phil Sweet
    Mar 8, 2019 at 11:35
  • 1
    @PhilSweet But, in this case, we don't know whether the work was finished or unfinished!
    – TrevorD
    Mar 8, 2019 at 14:47

3 Answers 3


A swan song is, according to the OED

the last work of a poet or musician, composed shortly before his death; hence, any final performance, action, or effort.

This phrase, although rather metaphorical, captures your desired meaning. It is more often applied to musicians than other artists; however, it can be used in a wider sense.


A slightly informal option is last hurrah, though Merriam-Webster doesn't give it this tag.

a final, often valedictory effort, production, or appearance

From Merriam-Webster

A final act, performance, or effort.

From Oxford Dictionaries.

The adjective valedictory literally means 'a farewell', so this fits nicely. Also, the term can apply to pretty much anyone, so there's no specificity.


Finale means "final composition". It is among the many ways to refer to a painter's last work. Parting expression, final piece, consummate representation, and ultimate rendering all capture the idea of the final painting.

An example:

This painting was his ultimate rendering.
It was his parting expression.

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