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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
HERRERO DE JAUREGUI, M., Orphism and Christianity in Late Antiquity, Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2010.
This style of abstraction was called Simultanism (or Orphism) and, unlike the more monochrome Cubism of Braque and Picasso, described a devotion to the optical vibrations created by overlapping, contrasting colors.
Following now with French 20th Century Literature, Metka Zupancic analyzes in her article "Literature, Mythology, Orphism: 'language as God' in the French Nouveau Roman", how this 20th century French literary movement is deeply rooted in mythology, particularly in mythological ways of thinking.
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.
Because in Crane there is much of gnosis, derived from Ouspensky and Hermes, Bloom came to call Crane the "prophet of American Orphism" and the "great modern poet of thresholds" (Bloom 2003: 11, 16).
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, (...) described by Virgil, revealed by the Gospels" (Gebser 72) and spoken of by Plutarch and Dante.
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.