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Orphism (art)

Orphism or Orphic Cubism, a term coined by the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1912, was an offshoot of Cubism that focused on pure abstraction and bright colors, influenced by Fauvism, the theoretical writings of Paul Signac, Charles Henry and the dye chemist Eugène Chevreul. This movement, perceived as key in the transition from Cubism to Abstract art, was pioneered by František Kupka, Robert Delaunay and Sonia Delaunay, who relaunched the use of color during the monochromatic phase of Cubism. The meaning of the term Orphism was elusive when it first appeared and remains to some extent vague.

Orphism (religion)

Orphism (more rarely Orphicism; Ancient Greek: Ὀρφικά) is the name given to a set of religious beliefs and practices originating in the Ancient Greek and the Hellenistic world, as well as by the Thracians, associated with literature ascribed to the mythical poet Orpheus, who descended into Hades and returned. Orphics also revered Persephone (who annually descended into Hades for a season and then returned) and Dionysus or Bacchus (who also descended into Hades and returned). Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus. Poetry containing distinctly Orphic beliefs has been traced back to the 6th century BC or at least 5th century BC, and graffiti of the 5th century BC apparently refers to "Orphics".

Classical sources, such as Plato, refer to "Orpheus-initiators" (Ὀρφεοτελεσταί), and associated rites, although how far "Orphic" literature in general related to these rites is not certain. As in the Eleusinian mysteries, initiation into Orphic mysteries promised advantages in the afterlife.


Orphism may refer to:

  • Orphism (art) (a school of art, also known as "Orphic cubism")
  • Orphism (religion) (a religious movement in antiquity, supposed to have been founded by Orpheus)

Usage examples of "orphism".

From what little I know of Orphism, I should think that it is nothing more than a coarse variation on the beautiful and truly ancient legend of the hero Gilgamesh.

And everywhere were the mystic silver globes on their stands, sign of the cryptic Orphism of country folk.

Was this cult the foundation for Orphism and were the trances and hallucinations induced by drugs the mechanism whereby the Greeks conceived the idea of the soul and, associated with it, reincarnation?