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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 ?
Similarly, his view of Carolingian and Ottoman governance generally could be characterized as primitivist, as he explicitly rejects the applicability of the concept of statehood.
The "Catholic" influences Perchard cites as the reasons for the spiritual component to Panassie's embarrassing, primitivist views were quite local, and quite French (Leon Bloy, Jacques Maritain, Charles Pegtiy), along with the decidedly un-Catholic Rene Guenon.
In the primitivist utopia which these counter-hegemonic projects--most notably anarcho-primitivism--delineate, none of the advanced technologies of the present age would be allowed; in such an idyll, management of one's life would not exceed beyond the employment of simple tools.
Goncharova's early work has been called primitivist, but a blending of influences with her own aesthetic makes it difficult to place her in any one stylistic box.
Lam painted his horse-headed women in a modernist Cubist, Surrealist, and primitivist mode that cannot be fully understood without first mentioning Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), originally titled Le Bordel d'Avignon (The Brothel of Avignon), a painting that was influenced by Paul Gauguin, whose so-called "primitivism" can be characterized by a pre-renaissance flatness of perspective, a childlike simplicity of forms and boldness of outlines, a rejection of European standards of beauty, and an attempt to reconnect with a pure state of nature.
Synopsis: Critics have claimed that Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a primitivist uncritically preoccupied with "noble savages" and that he remained oblivious to the African slave trade.
Work like that of Ivan da Silva Bruhns makes especially clear that primitivist motifs and post-cubist abstractions captivated carpet designers and painters alike.
tradition (having, instead, direct access to primitivist truth) and the
His survey of various anarchist currents, from more traditional forms of class struggle anarchism to primitivist and post-modernist approaches, is balanced and comprehensive.
Euphoria is a meticulously researched homage to Mead's restless mind and a considered portrait of Western anthropology in its primitivist heyday.
Community of Christ was birthed as a Christian Primitivist Movement of the early-nineteenth-century American frontier.