Naïve art  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Naïve art is created by untrained artists. It is characterized by simplicity and a lack of the elements or qualities found in the art of formally trained artists. (See also, outsider art, with which it bears many similarities.)

The term naïve art presumes the existence (by contrast) of an academy and of a generally accepted educated manner of art creation, most often painting. In practice, however, there are schools of naïve artists. Over time it has become an acceptable style.

The characteristics of naïve art are an awkward relationship to the formal qualities of painting; for example, difficulties with drawing and perspective that result in a charmingly awkward and often refreshing vision; strong use of pattern, unrefined colour, and simplicity rather than subtlety are all supposed markers of naïve art. It has become such a popular and recognisable style that many examples could be called pseudo-naïve.

Primitive art is another term often applied to the art of those without formal training. This is distinguished from the self-conscious movement primitivism. Another term related to, but not completely synonymous with, naïve art, is folk art.

Whereas naïve art, ideally, describes the work of an artist who did not receive a formal education in an art school or academy, see Henri Rousseau, Alfred Wallis; 'pseudo naïve' or 'faux naïve' art describes the work of an artist working in a more imitative or self-conscious mode and whose work can be seen as more imitative than original.


Naïve artists

18th century

19th century

20th century

See also

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