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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 periodicals archive ?
The conclusion on anarchist visions of the future briefly refers back to previous mentions of the disagreements between advocates of decentralised, human scale eco-technologies and the primitivists but doesn't really present a clear picture regarding how these tensions in contemporary anarchism can be resolved.
This group, the primitivists of the 1940s, promoted a genre that was not, as it appeared, about tribal art but about what Shadbolt called "the act of art" (8).
Accounting for Europeanized travelers and stay-at-home primitivists is no small task and Widenheim manages it extremely well.
Like Groves himself, primitivists such as Arulappan, Nee, and Singh have taken to its logical conclusion the evangelical belief that the New Testament is inspired, authoritative, and rightfully endowed with a status above foreign church custom and local culture.
Gallery), while Village versions of the big-time neo-expressionists showed alongside the graffitists and folk primitivists at Gracie Mansion, FUN, and Civilian Warfare.
Even Birmingham's metal primitivists, Black Sabbath, used the technology and the quad mix of Paranoid is drooled over by obsessives.
In their search for subjects and a manner that would distinguish their works from traditional easel painting, the Nabis also borrowed from a number of other artistic traditions, including Japanese art, Italian primitivists such as Fra Angelico, the mural paintings of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes and the contemporary posters and graphic art seen on the streets of Paris.
These typically modern constellations of the ultra-modern and archaic were abundant among aesthetic primitivists and in wider popular discourses between the wars.
Realists, neorealists, institutionalists, and constructivists of a state-centric bent also seem primitivists by comparison.