Also found in: Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. An ancient Greek mystery religion arising in the sixth century bc from a synthesis of pre-Hellenic beliefs with the Thracian cult of Zagreus and soon becoming mingled with the Eleusinian mysteries and the doctrines of Pythagoras.
2. often orphism A short-lived movement in early 20th-century painting, derived from cubism but marked by a lyrical style and the use of bold color.

[French orphisme, from Orphée, Orpheus, from Greek Orpheus.]

Or′phist n.


(Classical Myth & Legend) a mystery religion of ancient Greece, widespread from the 6th century bc onwards, combining pre-Hellenic beliefs, the Thracian cult of (Dionysius) Zagreus, etc
Orˈphistic adj


(ˈɔr fɪz əm)

a Greek religious movement of the 6th to 5th centuries b.c. whose mystic beliefs were expounded in poems allegedly written by Orpheus.


a short-lived development of Cubism c.1912 that attempted to enliven the original approach by subordinating the geometrical forms and using unmixed bright colors. — Orphist, n.
See also: Art
the religion of the Orphic mysteries, a cult of Dionysus (Bacchus) ascribed to Orpheus as its founder, especially its rites of initiation and doctrines of original sin, salvation, and purification through reincarnations. Also Orphicism. — Orphic, n., adj.
See also: Religion
References in periodicals archive ?
Orphism was the first universal [rather than tribal] religion" (2).
In addition, the fundamental theological contributions of various Greco-Roman philosophical schools of thought, including Orphism, Stoicism, Pythagoreanism, Platonism and Neo-Platonism, are described.
Saar's current work references Lyrical Abstraction, Color Theory, Orphism, and the California Light and Space movement.
The Tate Modern catalogue and exhibition is a visual tour de force, with over 250 mostly full-color illustrations that highlight Sonia Delaunay's artistic range working in diverse media, materials, and processes as well as her leadership and participation in new arts movements, including Orphism, Simultane, Abstraction-Creation, and Nouvelles Realities.
Soffici includes Cubism as well as Fauvism, Orphism, Futurism and Dada in this "pre-Raphaelite" tendency and invokes an art that would create a dialogue with pictorial tradition without resorting to the sterile imitation of the past.
Wolf's phrase from his provocative study of Orphism in Heart Crane's poetry--are revealed in his use of the motif of the mythical journey "mentioned by the Orphics, alluded to by the Y symbol of the Pythagoreans, (.
Dualism's arrival, on the other hand, which found expression in Orphism, Christianity, and Gnosticism, along with Cartesianism, posited the otherworldly nature of the human soul, which was imprisoned within the inanimate body.
Mohsin's six oil-on-canvas paintings have a decorative penchant and the backgrounds are reminiscent of artist Sonia Delaunay who cofounded the Orphism art movement known for its use of strong colors and geometric patterns.
39), the influence of the poet Guillaume Apollinaire on him as a young man in Paris and a group of artists including Ferdinand Leger who were protagonists of the Orphism movement.
His perspectives include tragic worlds: narrating the Athenian polis; death is death is death: narrating a world of perennial suffering; mythological intertextuality: Alcestic and Heracles; and death is death is life: Eleusinian Orphism and moral courage.
This way, I distinguish Ficino's Platonism from Pico's and I emphasize its importance as a transmitter of the Platonic tradition that includes a committed Orphism not only doctrinally but also in a textual manner.
14) Indeed, in claiming that he possesses a special wisdom Euthyphro is actually signalling his membership in some strange religious cult comparable to Orphism.