Naïve Art: The Best Art Genre You Don’t Know About!

Have You Explored Naïve Art?

There is a genre of art that is found in almost every country, hung on the walls of the most famous galleries, and created by some of the most acclaimed and talented artists. I am referring to none other than naïve art! Yet despite so much going on for this blossoming genre, very few actually know what defines a piece of art as ‘naïve.’

Birds Song for the First Snow by Guido Vedovato
Birds Song for the First Snow by Guido Vedovato

Giorgio dө Chirico said it best: “To beсome truly immortаl, a work of art muѕt escape all hυman limits…But once theѕe barriers аre broken, іt will enter the realms of childһood visions and dreams.” The keyword here is childhood. Naïve art takes the ordinary and adds enchantment. It turns the reality of adulthood into the weightless joys of youth. Simply put, naïve art turns reality into something else, something better.

This concept is not unique in the world of art. Many of the most popular art genres find imaginative ways to create altered realities:

• Fine art uses aesthetics and detail to BEAUTIFY reality.

• Abstract art uses shapes and colors to DISTORT reality.

• Expressionism uses emotion to FANTASIZE reality.

• Folk art uses patterns and colors to DECORATE reality.

• Contemporary art takes a known theme and makes the reality CURRENT.

• Naïve art uses childlike innocence to LIGHTEN reality.


The 4 Basic Characteristics of Naïve Art

How does naïve art accomplish this “lightened’ reality?

• Bright colors – Naïve art utilizes colors and mix media that are not true to reality and often juxtaposed against one another.

Our Special Day by Beatriz Orosco
Our Special Day by Beatriz Orosco
Anna Frank City Sightseeing by Joop Plasmeyer

• A childlike perspective – Naïve art often creates the illusion that objects are floating or positioned without anything solid anchoring them in place.

• Live creatures, people, and flora – The focus is almost always on animated characters and never on inanimate objects.

• Precision of detail – Naïve artists often pay very close attention to the soft borders, intense backgrounds, and fine lines of their figures and objects.

Next time you catch yourself staring at a painting, and you feel a smile cross your face, take a closer look. If you feel removed from reality–in a free, young, and lightweight sort of way–then you most probably encountered a naïve piece of art, or at least a piece of art with naïve elements! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of naïve art.


Nirel Matsil, Naive Art Online




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About Nirel

 I currently get my art fix by painting and writing an art blog  for a gallery (called Naive Art Online), the largest collection of international  and truly awesome Naive Art!

6 thoughts on “Naïve Art: The Best Art Genre You Don’t Know About!

  1. Thank you, Nirel, for such a simple, clear explanation of Naive Art!
    Love the three paintings you chose as examples to share. These are exceptional paintings, with so much joyful energy to savor.
    In the wedding painting by Beatrice Orosco, is that the groom, passed out and being carried, with rice falling from his pocket? LOL!
    Joop Plasmeyer’s depiction of Amsterdam brought a delighted smile of recognition and wave of nostalgia.
    Than you again for your blog.

    Mandy Rohmiller
    Haymarket, Virginia

  2. Hi Mandy,
    I’m glad you liked the article!
    You are very perceptive, the groom is acting a bit immature, but hey, it’s his wedding day…so we’ll let him offthe hook 😉

    Whimsical is a perfect word to describe ‘Naive!’


  3. Hi, this article was really clear, precise and enjoyable. It reminded me of a dear friend who was known for her naive painting, she was shown and published in the McMichael Gallery in Ontario. When she was in hospice waiting, she continued to paint every day, and the canvas was filled with people, weddings, country scenes , every day events, not much balanced by the pundits of today, but, my! What fun, energy and joyfullness. She raised the spirits of all who worked there and lived, also. Cheers to the spirit of Naive Artists!!
    Joanna .

  4. Now I am inspired to create a painting trying to fit the naïve art theme. I like to focus on details and find the childlike perspective very interesting and fun to try. I am glad I read this article.