Definition of Orphism in English:



  • 1A mystic religion of ancient Greece, originating in the 7th or 6th century bc and based on poems (now lost) attributed to Orpheus, emphasizing the necessity for individuals to rid themselves of the evil part of their nature by ritual and moral purification throughout a series of reincarnations.

    • ‘Orpheus and Orphism: Cosmology and Sacrifice at the Boundary.’
    • ‘Metempsychosis and, more generally, an interest in the afterlife connects Pythagoreanism with Orphism; Plato associates vegetarianism with the Orphic life-style.’
    • ‘[Syrianus] offered to discourse to them on either the Orphic theories or the oracles; but Domninus wanted Orphism, Proclus the oracles, and they had not agreed when Syrianus died…’
  • 2A short-lived art movement (c.1912) within cubism, pioneered by a group of French painters (including Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay-Terk, and Fernand Léger) and emphasizing the lyrical use of colour rather than the austere intellectual cubism of Picasso, Braque, and Gris.

    • ‘The founder of Orphism, Robert Delaunay, moved from a Cubist technique in which colour and construction were all-important towards non-objective colour compositions which foreshadow later developments.’
    • ‘Orphism is one of the artistic styles to emerge from the Cubist movement.’
    • ‘Although it was short-lived, Orphism was the first movement devoted explicitly to non-representational colour abstraction.’
    • ‘These included, as he wrote in his journals, Cubism, Futurism, Purism, Orphism, Expressionism, Dadaism, Surrealism, ‘and an avalanche of exposed secrets.’’
    • ‘From 1904 to 1914 he lived in Paris, where he knew many of the leading figures of Fauvism, Cubism, and Orphism.’