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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.
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.


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


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


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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


n (Art) → naive Kunst
n (Art) (= artist)Naive(r) mf; (= work)naives Werk
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007
References in periodicals archive ?
Yet whereas the exhibitions focusing on South Africa effectively underlined intersections between local specificity and global trends, "Who Knows Tomorrow," which aimed to do just that, instead reinstated the familiar primitivist pitfalls it was attempting to move beyond.
Though art-historical specters are always lurking behind Curry's aesthetic--whether glorified signatures, obvious modernist references, or printed images of classical art defaced by expressionistic primitivist gestures--this latest body of work uses cultural signifiers with a newfound restraint, at times even attempting to camouflage them completely.
Bram van Velde sought a middle route--his rainy-day pastels and oversize, primitivist archetypes seemed especially citational, as if the painter were (as T.
Outside Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands, Cobra is still criticized for the qualities celebrated in those locales: its primitivist inspiration from children's and outsider art and the paradox of its attempts to politicize painting (a project that was, in fact, always already doomed in the eyes of the Situationist International, formed later in 1957, by Jorn and Constant).
Among the artworks her poems address are such recognizable tableaux as Gauguin's primitivist Loss of Virginity; Bill Traylor's Untitled fabulist depiction of a large man, cane in hand, balancing on his head a great blue-colored earthen pot atop which sits a dog; and Picasso's Girl Helping a Minotaur.
Saskatoon is inclusive in its spiritual orientation, and primitivist in its philosophy: The annual gathering "looks toward ancestral skills in order to figure out what's going to help humanity weather the storms of the future," Russell told me.
The first was a grainy shot of a Jamaican jungle suggestively titled The Bush, 2013, evoking primitivist fantasies of lush and teeming forests, while the second featured a print of the Messier 81 galaxy, folded so its astral expanse resembled bird's wings--a fluttering, Afrofuturist mecca.
It entails, for example, that a logical Platonist cannot accept that true disjunctions are grounded in the truth of their disjuncts; that a Platonist about mathematical objects cannot accept that sets are grounded in their members; and that a color primitivist cannot accept that an object's being scarlet grounds its not being chartreuse.
Although Mark Fisher is also right to recognise the Na'vi as a primitivist clichA[c], consisting of an amalgamation of typical indigenous features, coupled with their experience of suffering the historically recurring tale of forced eviction and mass slaughter synonymous with colonial history, the parallel maintains relevance not just for those unfamiliar with the Palestinian story, but even more so for those who attempt understanding its current phase.
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.
Our friendship began in the late 1970s when the capital was a stopover on her returning home to Northern California from concerts in places like Chile, Argentina, North Vietnam, Turkey and other blighted lands where primitivist dictators were caging political prisoners.