Opus magnum, also Magnum opus, is the most important work of an artist. The term is used primarily in connection with writers, poets and musicians, but is also used by scientists. The terms “summum opus” and “opus summum” are equally significant, whereby the œuvre means the total work of an artist. In alchemy, the term means the transformation of a substance into gold as well as the creation of the philosopher’s stone.
The word sequence is Latin, whereby magnum can be translated with great and opus with work: it is therefore a great work or a major work. According to the translation, the most important work, the great work, the artist, the scientist, the great work, the alchemical splendor. Let us look at both possibilities.
Opus Magnum as the most important work
The Opus Magnum is the most important work of an artist or scientist and, in some cases, the principal work of a scholar. There are, however, no definite features or criteria, which piece is now the most important of all the pieces produced.
What is important, however, is that an opus magnum is usually a masterpiece, a piece which is praised and critically acclaimed, and the best work of an artist during his creative period. In most cases, such a play is a later work of the artist in which the bundled experience and the knowledge of matter are condensed.
Under certain circumstances, the term can also be simply the most famous work of art. Sometimes, however, the term is also used to name a significant work, and is not reserved exclusively for the most important ones. Some examples from the art.
The above examples are all masterpieces and are certainly one of the most famous works of art history. Still, it is difficult to describe the individual pictures as the most important of the respective artists and thus as their opus magnum. Consequently, it seems more appropriate to use the term for an important and important work by an artist and thus to take the absolute.
Opus magnum in alchemy
Alchemy, the forerunner of modern chemistry, and an ancient branch of natural philosophy, means an extraordinary achievement: either the transformation of a substance into gold or the creation of the philosopher’s stone, and thus of a panacea. Both projects have never been successful, but over the centuries, among other things, they have been the highest goals of alchemy.
The philosopher’s stone should make it possible to turn a base into a noble metal. If it were possible to transform a base metal into gold, it should be described as a universal, should it be possible with its help to create a different precious metal if it were called a particular.
It is also important that a kind of universal medicine should be obtained from the philosopher’s stone, the so-called Panazee. This should cure all diseases. The production of such a remedy, as well as the successful creation of the philosopher’s stone, or another way of transforming base metals into pure gold, are described in alchemy as a great work.
Short overview: The most important overview
The opus magnum is called a major. It is either the most important work of an artist, or the creation of one of the great works of alchemy. In art it can make sense to speak mainly of important works.