The concept of Magnum Opus has been interpreted in various different ways. In this paper the basic objective is to offer a personal interpretation regarding the context of understanding Magnum Opus. The declarations are all made on the basis of personal readings and realizations and thus are very subjective in its approach.
Magnum Opus: A Personal Interpretation
The ideological concept of being magnum opus usually gets recognized through the persuasion of a particular work of art. It is very necessary that to consider a thematic approach as Magnum opus is a task. The entire process has to be very instinctive and the responses must get reflected in a proportionate way. To consider a work as a great work or as Magnum opus, there is the needs for right kind of recognition for the piece of art to a great extent many people follow some of the traditionally established rules to consider art as Magnum opus. However these are the rules that are considered under severe research and observations in general.
In this paper the approach is to derive those characteristic features of a piece of art where my interest of considering it as a Magnum opus exists. The ideological context of understanding a work of art and a thereby the instinctive interest in me to understand it better and to feel its impression over my individual entity is something that has been explored here. Establishment of an impression and the zeal to explore more authentic grounds of a particular art is what the paper tries to derive. It is an approach whereby, I am trying to comprehend my personal point of views in identifying some of the artistic features of a particular piece of art.
Magnum opus or opus magnum is the term that gets represented by the identifications related to a Great Work. Magnum opus is a recognition that is achieved by those artistic ventures that are connective in nature. In a way, these are the work of art that relates instinctive appeals of human beings and leaves impressive entity in the society. Magnum opus has been much used by Hermetics and people under alchemy. On one hand the Hermetics considered a great work as an original creation by some man and is so molded in such a way that it gets the capabilities to conquer its contemporary creations. The sense of competitiveness in these crafts is genuine and thus is demanded by every future age. There is a perfect emancipation of the artist’s will and it supports the masterpiece to sustain amidst the waves of time. On the other hand, the alchemy observed four stages for the establishment of Magnum opus. These stages are named as nigredo, albedo and citrinitas and rubedo; that are a process undergoing corruption, purification, spiritualization and unification of human instinctive demands.
The term has got certain amount of occultist traditional as well beings. In modern terminological derivation, Magnum opus has been also identified as a categorized sector of creation named as Masterpiece. Masterpieces are that identical mark that manages to attain critical overviews along with impressive derivations for establishing competitive popularity. The essence of being a masterpiece lies in being something that is unique and can communicate the artistic venture to the spectator. It is an outstanding creative declaration, and is capable to generate public and individualistic awareness through display of skill and creative workmanship.
Novel Theoretical Approach
There are innumerable interpretations regarding the definition and comprehensive elaborations about Magnum opus in particular every approach demands for unique entities and recognitions. These approaches are developed to understand the meanings and the reproaches forwarded by the selected craft or work of art. Magnum opus is thus a kind of recognition that is provided to a craft on the basis of its capability to impress people with instinctive acknowledgment. This is definitely a very comprehensive meaning of the term Magnum opus. However, something that strikes my readings of different masterpieces is very much related to the process of transformation that an individual feel inside after experiencing a particular art. For me Magnum opus is a strong word that deals with the instinctive ideological construction of an individual. I would like to put is as a novel experience that an individual feel after reading or looking through a great work. My basic approach is to justify those features that make an art a ‘Great Work’. I interpreted the psychological status of the artists while creating ‘Great Work’. It has been realized that no writer ever try to get into any mechanical process before creating his art. Great works of art are recognized as Magnum opus by all those people who experience the essence of these works. It is the recognition of the people in a particular age that makes a craft categorized under Magnum opus. At the same time it has been also realized a work of art may be tagged as Great Work by a generation but at the same time its recognition can get faded in the next generation. Or, a craft may not get recognized as a great work in the creator’s lifetime, but can gain the same by the generations that follow. It can be established that a work of art can be a Magnum opus, but its importance can vary as per the relevant social, political and economical statuses of the society and people to whom it appeals.
The only string that I recognized in all the kinds of Magnum opus is the psychological and emotional attachments created and maintained by the great work in almost every era. There are possibilities of getting deemed responses by the people from different communities or generations, but nullification of its essence needs to get totally denied. It is true that some Magnum opus is no more read or observed by the modern generation, yet they are considered as Great work. This is because of the recognition that the craft has earned long time back.
For me a Magnum opus is actually a piece of art that needs some specialized attention. It is important that the craft get recognized as Magnum opus only when it contributes something to the society and to the individual entity of the person who comes across it. Magnum opus must have the capability to leave an impression over the person who reads or sees it. It is important to emphasize on the term of ‘Experience’ that a Magnum opus can provide to the spectator or the audience. This experience must appeal to the individual in a very ‘Positive’ way. Added to the characteristic features of adding positive experiences to the individual a Magnum opus must have ‘Long Term’ impression over the individual. It is highly demanded that a Magnum opus should be able to get ‘Suitable’ to the changes of time and generation. It should be so ‘Justified’ that reader, spectator or the audience feels the expressions of the writer to the core of his heart and gains relief after getting through it. The essence of ‘Relief’ is the baseline for recognizing a Magnum opus. My interpretations demands for an amalgamated status of creating awareness among people by a Magnum opus. If a great work is not contributing anything to a society or people do not show any specific interest to the craft then it is not worth to consider it as a Magnum opus. Being able to ‘Grasp’ attention of the individual observer is something that characterizes a Great work and thus for me it is a mandatory effort that need sot get considered. For me every age contributes to the category of Magnum opus, and thus these recognition needs to get upgrade as per the availability of the crafts. There are possibilities that these upgrade list of Magnum opus might get counted in less but the authenticity and the relevance to the age will remain constant a great work of art cannot be called great if it cannot appeal to the current population and thus the demands for ‘Upgrade Status’ is very important for the recognition of being a Magnum opus.
I would like to clarify a very critical point here. For me a craft should not be considered as Magnum opus, just because it has attained a tag of being a ‘Great work’ in some period or age. A ‘Great work’ should get scrutinized well before being accepted as a Magnum opus. In my opinion, works like Beowulf or some of the paintings of Michelengelo cannot be considered as great work as they no more appeal to the modern social constructions. The contributions of this so-called Magnum opus hardly appeal to the people in general. they are definitely considered as ‘Great Works’ by some generations, but since they no more serve modern social demands I will not consider them as Magnum opus. At the same time some of the plays of Shakespeare still create the sense of relief or ‘purgation’ among the spectators. The soliloquies of Hamlet still add enough to the support to mental sufferance of the modern man. These are the features in Shakespearean art that makes it great and are accepted by the current generation. This can also be noted in some of the characters of Paradise Lost by Milton. As for instance, the characters of Mammon can be well depicted in a modern man and thus it gets recognized as a great contribution to the modern society. All those crafts that contribute to the individual experiences in a positive way are always great and are much acclaimed by every generation.
The choices of modern society and the related demands are the basic points that makes piece of art Magnum opus. In this context I do not consider Leonardo da Vinci’s Monalisa as a Magnum opus. The simple reason that I see is in its importance and relevance to the current social construction. It was called great by a particular generation, but for me I do not find any logical or justified way to consider Monalisa as a great work. On the other hand, I would like to call the paintings like 'Global Warming' by Janelle Schneider and contributions of authors like Laura Uba for ‘A Postmodern Psychology of Asian Americans: Creating Knowledge of a Racial Minority' as Magnum opus. For me these kinds of crafts in modern society are of great importance than the painting of Monalisa or the tale of Beowulf.
To conclude I would like to emphasis over the process of understand the importance and the relevance of a work of art in reference to the present social and political context. In my opinion every work of art must have the basic characteristic features of getting identified with the capabilities of creating and maintaining ‘Experience’ among people, with ‘Positive’ essence, ‘Suitable’ contextual references, ‘Justified’ elaborations, strength to provide ‘Relief’, capacity to ‘Grasp’ attention and above all upholding a ‘Upgrade Status’. For me a work of art may not be equally great in every generation that follows. For this every age must have separate list of Magnum opus in accordance to the demands and relevance of the society that exists. It is important to have the realization of being great than just getting tagged as ‘great’. Magnum opus is fruitful only if the current society accepts it as something revolutionary with the capacity to add positive transformational essence to the society.