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Encyclopedia > Primitivism

Primitivism is an artistic movement which originated as a reaction to the Enlightenment. Rousseau was the first to draw attention to the concept of the 'noble savage'. What 18th Century culture lacked, he argued, was nature, passion, emotion, instinct and mysticism. The Romantics developed this idea further. They believed that 'modern' society was moving away from its traditional roots, losing touch with its true 'primitive' condition. Out of this came Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Byron and Wordsworth, and later Conrad, Nietzsche and Picasso. The Age of Enlightenment (from the German word Aufklärung, meaning Enlightenment) refers to either the eighteenth century in European and American philosophy, or the longer period including the seventeenth century and the Age of Reason. ... Rousseau is a French surname. ... A section of Benjamin Wests The Death of General Wolfe; Wests depiction of this Native American has been considered an idealization in the tradition of the Noble savage (Fryd, 75) In the 18th century culture of Primitivism the noble savage, uncorrupted by the influences of civilization was considered... Mysticism from the Greek μυστικός (mystikos) an initiate (of the Eleusinian Mysteries, μυστήρια (mysteria) meaning initiation[1]) is the pursuit of achieving communion or identity with, or conscious awareness of, ultimate reality, the divine, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight; and the belief that such experience is an... Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. ... Wuthering Heights is Emily Brontës only novel. ... Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel by Mary Shelley. ... The poet George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron is often referred to simply as Byron. ... Wordsworth, an underground hip hop MC from Brooklyn. ... Conrad is a name derived from the Germanic elements kuon and rad, meaning bold counsel. ... Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900) was a highly influential German philosopher. ... A young Pablo Picasso Pablo Picasso, formally Pablo Ruiz Picasso, (October 25, 1881 - April 8, 1973) was one of the recognized masters of 20th century art. ...


Primitivism could also be seen as a set of modern European and Euro-American representational conventions inspired by non-Western art. These conventions were first developed by Europeans and Euro-Americans who were dissatisfied with a variety of aspects of European culture, and sought to find what they were missing in other parts of the world. What emerged was a simplistic understanding of other cultures, structured by the primitivists' own desires, their lack of knowledge of other societies (e.g. African), and the racism of European society. Their work has contributed to an ongoing belief in the multitude of non-western societies as fundamentally similar in their "primitiveness," supposedly meaning their irrationality, closeness to nature, free sexuality, freedom, proclivity to violence, "mysticism," etc. Such artists, especially Picasso, are still popularly understood as somehow escaping European conventions and expressing "primal" impulses within themselves.


Paul Gauguin (painting) and early Igor Stravinsky (music) are two of the important examples of primitivist art. A prime example of primitivism in music is Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, whose "Dionysian" modernism he abandoned for a more "Apollonian" neo-classicism. Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (June 7, 1848 – May 9, 1903) was a leading Post-Impressionist artist. ... Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Russian: Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, Igor Fëdorovič Stravinskij) (June 17, 1882 – April 6, 1971) was a Russian composer best known for three compositions from his earlier, Russian period: LOiseau de feu (The Firebird) (1910), Petrushka (1911), and Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) (1913). ... The Rite of Spring (French: Le Sacre du printemps; Russian: Весна священная, Vesna svjaščennaja) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. ... The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik, 1872) is a 19th Century work of philosophy by Friedrich Nietzsche. ... Modernism in music is characterized by a desire for or belief in progress and science, surrealism, anti-romanticism, political advocacy, general intellectualism, and/or a breaking with tradition or common practice. ... The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik, 1872) is a 19th Century work of philosophy by Friedrich Nietzsche. ... Neoclassicism (sometimes rendered as Neo-Classicism or Neo-classicism) is the name given to quite distinct movements in the visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture. ...

Contents

Some characteristics of primitivism

Primitivism is associated with:

  1. A concern with cultural phenomena on the periphery of European society--particularly sexuality, madness, spiritual punishment, violence, and alterity.
  2. Celebration of the "unconscious," often with the implication that non-western cultures are more "in touch" with the unconscious. A concern with dreams and symbols, often assumed to be "universal."
  3. Abstraction of the figure, particularly facial and bodily proportions. Inspired by "non-Western" arts, particularly African masks. Occidental primitivist artists falsely assumed African artists were interested in producing abstract representations.
  4. Focus on rhythmic and percussive elements, especially in music and ritual performance.
  5. Overt sexuality, particularly when combined with exaggeration and exposure of the genitals. The assumption is that "non-Western" cultures have a greater appreciation of sexuality or sensuality than European and European settler societies. In the U.S., this movement was often associated with Africans or African-Americans--particularly the popularity of Josephine Baker, jazz, and the broad characterization (esp. in France) of Africans as "soul of rhythmn."
  6. Flatness and geometric designs inspired by "non-Western" art forms.
  7. Application of paint in a rough, manipulated style, so as to connote "rawness."
  8. The history of Anthropological theory.

This page is a candidate to be copied to Wiktionary. ... Dreaming is the subjective experience of imaginary images, sounds/voices, thoughts or sensations during sleep, usually involuntarily. ... Occidental means generally western. It is a traditional designation (especially when capitalized) for anything belonging to the Occident or West — the western part of the classical world (Europe) and the New World, and especially of its society. ... A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value, which is prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community. ... World map showing location of Africa A satellite composite image of Africa Africa is the worlds second_largest continent in both area and population, after Asia. ... African Americans, also known as Afro-Americans or black Americans, are an ethnic group in the United States of America whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Sub-Saharan and West Africa. ... Anthropology (from the Greek word άνθρωπος = human) consists of the study of humankind (see genus Homo). ...

The origins of primitivism in western art

Western art has repeatedly searched for basic motifs to base art works upon, or to contrast with the normative world of day to day behavior, from the Greek satyr farces and use of older pottery motifs in architecture, through the acquisition of images from Ancient Egypt and Gothic revivals, the search for material from "before" has been part of the process of European art. Primitivism can be likened to other forms of archaism. In language, an archaism is the deliberate use of an older form that has fallen out of current use. ...


In the 18th and 19th century, many western artists took influences from other cultures, both European and otherwise, as a way of inflecting their work. Examples of this include the use of "Spanish" and "Turkish" sounds and "Egyptian" motifs. This tendency is labelled Exoticism in general and Orientalism when the culture was from the Islamic world or the Pacific Rim. Examples include the influence of Hiroshige on Vincent van Gogh. Exoticism (from exotic) is a trend in art and design, influenced by some ethnic groups or civilizations since the late 19th-century. ... Orientalism is the study of Near and Far Eastern societies and cultures, languages and peoples by Western scholars. ... Memorial portrait of Hiroshige by Kunisada. ... Vincent van Gogh is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ...


In the late 19th century many European powers invaded and conquered large sections of Africa and Micronesia, and the United States established control over the native nations of Great Plains. These cultures were not, by and large, urbanized, and their art reflected a very different pattern of life and religion from the city based civilizations that Europeans had incorporated into artwork previously. The use of the exaggerated body proportions, animal totems, geometric designs and stark contrasts became fashionable. The first artist to systematically use these effects and achieve broad public success was Paul Gauguin; another important artist in the movement was Henri Rousseau. A world map showing the continent of Africa. ... The Great Plains is the broad expanse of prairie which lies east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. ... Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin (June 7, 1848 – May 9, 1903) was a leading Post-Impressionist artist. ... Self Portrait, 1908 Henri Rousseau (May 21, 1844 – September 2, 1910) was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naive or Primitive manner. ...


It was with the rise of Modern art that primitivism gained a greater presence: in the context of the Modern, the "primitive" represented the libido, the "id" of psychoanalysis, as well as the unblemished and unrestrained sexuality associated with primitive tribes. This stood in marked contrast to European codes of behavior, which restricted sexual activity, and economic forces which resulted in later and later marriages. Modern art is a general term used for most of the artistic production from the late 19th century until approximately the 1970s. ... Look up Sex on Wiktionary, the free dictionary A sex is one of two specimen categories of species that recombine their genetic material in order to reproduce, a process called genetic recombination. ...


Primitivism was adopted because many of the motifs and ideas associated in the minds of early 20th century Europeans - permissiveness, sexuality, the revelation of repressed urges - were associated with tribal culture, and pre-Christian religious practices, including Human sacrifice. Human sacrifice was practiced in many ancient cultures. ...


See also

Anarcho-primitivism is an anarchist critique of the origins and progress of civilization. ... Adolf Wölflis Irren-Anstalt Band-Hain, 1910 The term Outsider Art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for Art Brut (which literally translates as Raw Art or Rough Art), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created... Ethnology (greek ethnos: (non-greek, barbarian) people) is a genre of anthropological study, involving the systematic comparison of the folklore, beliefs and practices of different societies. ... This article or section contains information that has not been verified and thus might not be reliable. ...

References


  Results from FactBites:
 
NodeWorks - Encyclopedia: Primitivism (art) (654 words)
It was with the rise of Modern art that primitivism gained a greater presence: in the context of the Modern, the "primitive" represented the libido, the "id" of psychoanalysis, as well as the unblemished and unrestrained sexuality associated with primitive tribes.
Primitivism was adopted because many of the motifs and ideas associated in the minds of early 20th century Europeans - percussiveness, sexuality, the revelation of repressed urges - were associated with tribal culture, and pre-Christian religious practices, including Human sacrifice.
Many features of primitivism's origin can be traced to the sense of superiority that Europeans felt towards those that they had only recently conquered, and at the same time the insecurities prevalent about their own culture, and its potential to fall into a "degenete" state.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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