Primitivismo

Primitivismo

Tendenza artistica sviluppatasi dal 19° sec. fino ai primi anni del Novecento. In epoca romantica, nel quadro di una rivalutazione del passato e del Medioevo, il termine si riferì a quanto di puro e di non corrotto si riteneva di trovare nell'arte italiana precedente al Rinascimento.

Questa concezione ispirò l'opera di gruppi quali i nazareni tedeschi, i puristi italiani e i preraffaelliti inglesi. Dagli ultimi decenni del 19° sec., con l'incremento degli studi di antropologia, il primivitismo coincise con un desiderio di ritorno allo stato di innocenza delle civiltà preistoriche e dei popoli cosiddetti selvaggi, e quindi come rifiuto della società moderna.

Emblematiche furono la vicenda personale di Paul Gauguin, l'opera di Pablo Picasso e Henri Matisse, che dell'arte primitiva recuperarono la semplificazione delle forme e l'esaltazione dei valori plastici, e del pittore naif Henri Rousseau, acclamato come 'primitivo moderno'.

(fonte: Enciclopedia Treccani on line)

 


 

Primitivism

“Primitivism” is less an aesthetic movement than a sensibility or cultural attitude that has informed diverse aspects of Modern art. It refers to Modern art that alludes to specific stylistic elements of tribal objects and other non-Western art forms.

With roots in late-19th-century Romanticism’s fascination with foreign civilizations and distant lands, particularly with what were considered to be naive, less-developed cultures, it also designates the “primitive” as a myth of paradise lost for late-19th- and 20th-century culture. Behind this captivation with the “other” was a belief in the intrinsic goodness of all humankind, a conviction inspired by French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s notion of the Noble Savage. At the same time, however, industrialized Western culture evoked the “primitive” as a sign on which to map what it had socially and psychologically repressed: desire and sexual abandon. The problematic nature of “primitivism” can be illustrated by the example of Paul Gauguin, who spurned his own culture to join that of an “uncivilized” yet more “ingenuous” people. Although he sought spiritual inspiration in Tahiti, he showed a more earthy preoccupation with Tahitian women, often depicting them nude. This eroticization of the “primitive” was amplified in the work of the German Expressionist group Die Brücke and in Pablo Picasso’s proto-Cubist paintings, particularly Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907).

The influence of tribal fetishes on Modern painters and sculptors, such as Constantin Brancusi, Alberto Giacometti, Henri Matisse, and Picasso, has been the subject of much art-historical and critical debate. While the formal impact of ritual objects on these artists is undeniable, recent attempts to locate affinities between the “primitive” and the Modern have been perceived as suspect because they evince a certain ethnocentrism. Moreover, the usage of the word “primitive” to describe cultures and creations outside of the European tradition can be seen to be degrading. For this reason, “primitivism” and “primitive” appear within quotation marks.

(source: Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY)

 

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907, Olio su tela, cm. 243,9 x 233,7, MOMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, inv. n. 333.1939, acquisto 1939
Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907, Olio su tela, cm. 243,9 x 233,7, MOMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York, inv. n. 333.1939, acquisto 1939