Primitivism is a painting style that originated in the XIX-XX centuries. The primitivists intentionally simplified the picture, making its forms primitive, like folk art, the work of a child or a primitive person. The main difference from naive art: naive is the painting of lay people, and primitivism is the stylized painting of professionals. The most famous artists in this direction are Marc Chagall, Niko Pirosmani.
Primitivism – Art Naive – “Painting of seven Sundays a week” is the art of people who have not lost a Child in their soul. This is “middle art”, torn off from the folklore “earth” and not raised to the scientific and artistic “sky”. Its roots go back to the childhood of mankind, when art was inseparable from life. There was no difference between a hunter and an artist, a mistress and a dancer. There was only a separation between men and women. Various activities, various myths, various ceremonies. These differences persisted in primitive art: men represent a psychological direction, women represent a decorative one. They are united only by the childlike immediacy of display, the infant ability to perceive the genetic memory of generations. In their paintings, Adults are simple-minded and angular, like children, and Children with the eyes of wise old people, enlarged to gigantic proportions, play with puppets-parents. So the subconscious of the artist restores justice on the canvas.
The origins of European primitivism are Gauguin, Matisse, Derain, German expressionists (E.-L. Kirchner, E. Nolde, E. Hekkel, K. Schmidt-Rottluf and others), K. Carra, A. Modigliani and many others, sublimating the lessons of primitive (folk, traditional) art, which also opens the way to the opposite – the rationalistic direction: cubism, suprematism, constructivism.
Ukrainian primitivism, in contrast to the European “urban” Art Naive, is more closely associated with folklore. Its origins should be sought in the oldest hunting and agricultural strata of culture.
In the turn to primitivism in Russia, as in other countries, two opposing approaches are initially distinguished: one that has as its basis the idea of a “natural order of things” (nature, culture), the other – minimization of form, improvement of its ideoplastic function, and the idea of constructing new entities (civilization).
Thus, the primitivism of the turn of the century is at the source of two polar, opposing directions of art of the 20th century, in which the dichotomy of the Unique and Universal is clearly expressed. From the point of view of morphology, the key point is the reduction of form, which in the first case looks like its simplification (ethical), in the second – as a simplification (aesthetic). Both trends mature in European culture throughout the 19th century.