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1. The condition or quality of being primitive.
2. The style characteristic of a primitive artist.
a. A belief that it is best to live simply and in a natural environment.
b. A belief that the acquisitions of civilization are evil or that the earliest period of human history was the best.

prim′i·tiv·ist adj. & n.
prim′i·tiv·is′tic adj.


1. the condition of being primitive
2. the notion that the value of primitive cultures is superior to that of the modern world
3. (Art Terms) the principles, characteristics, etc, of primitive art and artists
ˈprimitivist n, adj
ˌprimitivˈistic adj


(ˈprɪm ɪ tɪˌvɪz əm)

1. a recurrent theory or belief, as in philosophy or art, that the qualities of primitive or chronologically early cultures are superior to those of contemporary civilization.
2. the state of being primitive.
3. the qualities or style characterizing primitive art.
prim′i•tiv•ist, n.
prim`i•tiv•is′tic, adj.


1. the self-conscious return, for inspiration, to the archaic forms produced by non-Western cultures.
2. the practice of painting in a way alien to academic or traditional techniques, often displaying a highly individual naiveté in interpretation and treatment of subjects. Cf. archaism.primitivist, n.primitivistic, adj.
See also: Art
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.primitivism - a wild or unrefined state
natural state, state of nature, wild - a wild primitive state untouched by civilization; "he lived in the wild"; "they collected mushrooms in the wild"
2.primitivism - a genre characteristic of (or imitative of) primitive artists or children
genre - a class of art (or artistic endeavor) having a characteristic form or technique


n (Art) → naive Kunst
n (Art) (= artist)Naive(r) mf; (= work)naives Werk
References in classic literature ?
All the time we are struggling between the rankest primitivism and the most delicate intrigue.
The Old Guitarist [Photo: Wikipedia] Due to his massive experimental processes, his works are classified in a number of phases such as Blue Period, African Art Primitivism, Surrealism and Neoclassicism and Synthetic Cubism.
But anarcho-primitivism is an ecological and political perspective that draws mainly upon primitivism and eco-anarchism.
The European primitivism that was all the rage in Parisian avant-garde circles when Lam began making a name for himself in Paris in the late 1930s had been inspired in part by the African, Oceanic, and Ancient American art works that began arriving in Europe following colonial conquests and expeditions in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Fugitive Rousseau: Slavery, Primitivism, and Political Freedom
Moreover, Kafka's appreciation of Hasidim is more complicated than the above citation from Max Brod would indicate; situated within the corpus of texts that engage Hasidim, Kafka's primitivism and its particular form become clear.
The author adds that we were again tragically reminded of Balkan's stubbornness, primitivism, provincialism and pathological fear of losing power.
His aesthetic, referencing the likes of Franco-Russian Modernist Marc Chagall, demonstrates a myriad of styles and movements, from surrealism to primitivism, to a naAA-f sense of the idyll.
From Combinatorialism to Primitivism, JENNIFER WANG
I'm a self-confessed guitar obsessive - when not working on my American Primitivism fingerstyle I'm busy polishing my headstock over pictures of vintage Gibson Super 400s (like the one Elvis had in the 68 Comeback Special - yes indeedy).
But he notes also that romantic primitivism in Dickey's hands, unlike romantic primitivism in the hands of other artists who also seek transcendence through the immanent force of nature, is shot through with parody and self-parody, so that the poet seems to embrace primitivism while at the same time treating it with an edge of mockery.
By doing so, it reveals the artwork's vulnerability as an object that can alternate between states of hypermodernity and primitivism or shift from test case to relic over time--a transitory monument, an apparition that will eventually entirely disappear, unconscious and fluid.