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 '19 at 5:19
  • Unfinished is pretty well established. – Phil Sweet Mar 8 '19 at 11:35
  • @PhilSweet But, in this case, we don't know whether the work was finished or unfinished! – TrevorD Mar 8 '19 at 14:47

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.

| improve this answer | |

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.

| improve this answer | |

You could use "finale" as a single word to mean final composition, but there are many ways one might refer to an artist's (painter's) last work before death. I think "parting expression" or "final piece" or "consummate representation" or "ultimate rendering" all capture the idea of their final painting.

It was his parting expression.

This painting was his ultimate rendering.

https://www.thefreedictionary.com/finale https://www.thefreedictionary.com/piece https://www.thefreedictionary.com/expression https://www.thefreedictionary.com/rendering https://www.thefreedictionary.com/consummate https://www.thefreedictionary.com/ultimate

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.