Discipline: Art


Term used by the French poet GUILLAUME APOLLINAIRE (1880-1918) to describe paintings exhibited by Robert Delaunay at the 'Section d'Or' exhibition in 1912 and in Berlin in 1913.

Apollinaire perceived the romantic aspect of this non-representational color abstraction, which had some links with cubism and music. However, Delaunay was later to trace its links with neo-impressionism and synchromism painting, and to stress the importance of simultaneisme.

V Spate, Orphism (Oxford, 1980)

Also See:

· rayonism


Discipline: Philosophy

Name for a complex strand in Ancient Greek religious thought, contrasting with the more familiar strand of the Olympian deities (Zeus, Apollo, and so on).

A body of religious writings from the 7th and succeeding centuries BC was attributed to the mythical singer Orpheus and his followers.

In Classical times, Orphic ideas were connected with current mystery religions. They concerned purification and initiation rites, and doctrines to do with reincarnation and post-mortal punishment and reward.

Philosophically, their main importance lies in their influence on Pythagoreanism and Plato (c.427-c.347 BC), notably in his Meno and Gorgias. However, modern scholars have doubted how much can be attributed to a specifically Orphic movement distinguishable from the wider background of mystery religions generally.

I M Linforth, The Arts of Orpheus (1941); takes a somewhat sceptical approach


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