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Decorative art

Decorative art

Overview
The decorative arts is traditionally a term for the design and manufacture of functional objects. It includes interior design
Interior design
Interior design describes a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an effective setting for the range of human activities are to take place there. An interior designer is someone who conducts such projects...

, but not usually architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

. The decorative arts are often categorized in opposition to the "fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

s", namely, painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

, and large-scale sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, which generally have no function other than to be seen. Decorative arts, or furnishings, may be fixed (for example, wallpaper), or moveable (for example, carpets).
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Encyclopedia
The decorative arts is traditionally a term for the design and manufacture of functional objects. It includes interior design
Interior design
Interior design describes a group of various yet related projects that involve turning an interior space into an effective setting for the range of human activities are to take place there. An interior designer is someone who conducts such projects...

, but not usually architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

. The decorative arts are often categorized in opposition to the "fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

s", namely, painting
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

, photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

, and large-scale sculpture
Sculpture
Sculpture is three-dimensional artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials—typically stone such as marble—or metal, glass, or wood. Softer materials can also be used, such as clay, textiles, plastics, polymers and softer metals...

, which generally have no function other than to be seen. Decorative arts, or furnishings, may be fixed (for example, wallpaper), or moveable (for example, carpets). Applied art
Applied art
Applied art is the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use. Whereas fine arts serve as intellectual stimulation to the viewer or academic sensibilities, the applied arts incorporate design and creative ideals to objects of utility, such as a cup, magazine or...

 includes the decorative arts but also graphic design
Graphic design
Graphic design is a creative process – most often involving a client and a designer and usually completed in conjunction with producers of form – undertaken in order to convey a specific message to a targeted audience...

 and other categories, such as industrial design
Industrial design
Industrial design is the use of a combination of applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, and usability of a product, but it may also be used to improve the product's marketability and production...

, which may overlap with decorative art. In general the term "decorative art" is not much used of contemporary work, which tends to be called design
Design
Design as a noun informally refers to a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system while “to design” refers to making this plan...

 whereas in art history
Art history
Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and style...

 the terms minor arts or lesser arts have been used which explains the contempt often expressed by those focused on 'fine art'.

Distinction from fine arts



The distinction between decorative and fine arts has essentially risen from the
post-Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 art of the West, where it is for the most part meaningful. It is much less so when applied to the art of other cultures and periods, where the most highly-regarded works often include those in "decorative" media, or all works are in such media. For example, Islamic art
Islamic art
Islamic art encompasses the visual arts produced from the 7th century onwards by people who lived within the territory that was inhabited by or ruled by culturally Islamic populations...

 in many periods and places consists entirely of the decorative arts, as does the art of many traditional cultures, and in Chinese art
Chinese art
Chinese art is visual art that, whether ancient or modern, originated in or is practiced in China or by Chinese artists or performers. Early so-called "stone age art" dates back to 10,000 BC, mostly consisting of simple pottery and sculptures. This early period was followed by a series of art...

 the distinction is less useful than in Europe. Even in Europe, the distinction is unhelpful for Early Medieval art
Medieval art
The medieval art of the Western world covers a vast scope of time and place, over 1000 years of art history in Europe, and at times the Middle East and North Africa...

, where although "fine arts" such as manuscript illumination and monumental sculpture
Monumental sculpture
The term monumental sculpture is often used in art history and criticism, but not always consistently. It combines two concepts, one of function, and one of size, and may include an element of a third more subjective concept. It is often used for all sculptures that are large...

 existed, the most prestigious works, commissioned from the best artists, tended to be in goldsmith
Goldsmith
A goldsmith is a metalworker who specializes in working with gold and other precious metals. Since ancient times the techniques of a goldsmith have evolved very little in order to produce items of jewelry of quality standards. In modern times actual goldsmiths are rare...

 work or cast metals such as bronze. Large-scale wall-paintings were apparently much less regarded, relatively crudely executed, and rarely mentioned in contemporary sources; they were probably seen as a cheap but inferior substitute for mosaic
Mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

, which in this period must be treated as a fine art, though in recent centuries contemporary production has tended to be seen as decorative. The term "ars sacra" ("sacred arts") is sometimes used for medieval Christian art in metal, ivory, textiles and other high-value materials from this period, though this does not cover the even rarer survivals of secular works.

Modern understanding of the art of many cultures tends to be distorted by the modern privileging of fine art media over others, as well as the very different survival rates of works in different media. Works in metal, above all in precious metals, are liable to be "recycled" as soon as they fall from fashion, and were often used by owners as repositories of wealth, to be melted down when extra money was needed. Illuminated manuscripts have a much higher survival rate, especially in the hands of the church, as there was little value in the materials and they were easy to store.

The promotion of the fine arts over the decorative in European thought can largely be traced to the Renaissance, when Italian theorists such as Vasari promoted artistic values, exemplified by the artists of the High Renaissance
High Renaissance
The expression High Renaissance, in art history, is a periodizing convention used to denote the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance...

, that placed little value on the cost of materials or the amount of skilled work required to produce a work, but instead valued artistic imagination and the individual touch of the hand of a supremely gifted master such as Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 or Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, reviving to some extent the approach of antiquity. Most European art during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 had been produced under a very different set of values, where both expensive materials and virtuoso displays in difficult techniques had been highly valued. In China both approaches had co-existed for many centuries: ink and wash painting
Ink and wash painting
Ink and wash painting is an East Asian type of brush painting also known as ink wash painting. Only black ink — the same as used in East Asian calligraphy — is used, in various concentrations....

, mostly of landscapes
Landscape art
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still...

, was to a large extent produced by and for the scholar-bureaucrats
Scholar-bureaucrats
Scholar-officials or Scholar-bureaucrats were civil servants appointed by the emperor of China to perform day-to-day governance from the Sui Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, China's last imperial dynasty. These officials mostly came from the well-educated men known as the...

 or "literati", and was intended as an expression of the artist's imagination above all, while other major fields of art, including the very important Chinese ceramics produced in effectively industrial conditions, were produced according to a completely different set of artistic values.

Some decorative arts


  • Ceramic art
    Ceramic art
    In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as...

     (that is Pottery
    Pottery
    Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

    )
  • Glassware
    Glassware
    This list of glassware includes drinking vessels , tableware, such as dishes, and flatware used to set a table for eating a meal, general glass items such as vases, and glasses used in the catering industry whether made of glass or plastics such as polystyrene and...

    , including some stained glass
    Stained glass
    The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

     and studio glass
  • Furniture
    Furniture
    Furniture is the mass noun for the movable objects intended to support various human activities such as seating and sleeping in beds, to hold objects at a convenient height for work using horizontal surfaces above the ground, or to store things...

  • Hardstone carving
    Hardstone carving
    Hardstone carving is a general term in art history and archaeology for the carving for artistic purposes of semi-precious stones, also known as gemstones, such as jade, rock crystal , agate, onyx, jasper, serpentine or carnelian, and for an object made in this way. Normally the objects are small,...

    , including pietra dura
    Pietra dura
    Pietra dura or pietre dure , called parchin kari in South Asia, is a term for the technique of using cut and fitted, highly-polished colored stones to create images. It is considered a decorative art...

     work and engraved gems
  • metalwork, especially by goldsmiths
  • jewellery
    Jewellery
    Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.With some exceptions, such as medical alert bracelets or military dog tags, jewellery normally differs from other items of personal adornment in that it has no other purpose than to...

  • ivory carving
    Ivory carving
    Ivory carving is the carving of ivory, that is to say animal tooth or tusk, by using sharp cutting tools, either mechanically or manually. The ancient craft has now virtually ceased, as since CITES it is illegal under most circumstances throughout the world....

     and bone carving
    Bone carving
    Bone carving is the act of creating art forms by carving into animal bones and often includes the carving of antlers and horns. It can result in the ornamentation of a bone, or the creation of a figure. It has been practiced by a variety of world cultures, sometimes as a cheaper substitute for...

  • textile arts
    Textile arts
    Textile arts are those arts and crafts that use plant, animal, or synthetic fibers to construct practical or decorative objects.Textiles have been a fundamental part of human life since the beginning of civilization, and the methods and materials used to make them have expanded enormously, while...

  • Some mosaic
    Mosaic
    Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

    s, and all micromosaics
  • Wallpaper
    Wallpaper
    Wallpaper is a kind of material used to cover and decorate the interior walls of homes, offices, and other buildings; it is one aspect of interior decoration. It is usually sold in rolls and is put onto a wall using wallpaper paste...

  • Fretwork
    Fretwork
    Fretwork is an interlaced decorative design that is either carved in low relief on a solid background, or cut out with a fretsaw, coping saw, jigsaw or scroll saw. Most fretwork patterns are geometric in design. The materials most commonly used are wood and metal. Fretwork is used to adorn...

  • Fold-forming
    Fold-forming
    Fold-forming is a technique of metalworking whereby metal is folded, repeatedly forged and annealed, and unfolded; at which stage it generally has a dramatic new three-dimensional form....


See also

  • American craft
    American craft
    American craft is an entity of the American contribution to the family of artistic practices conducted by independent studio artists. In this case Studio Craft artists work specifically with traditional craft materials and/or processes such as wood, woodworking or furniture making, glass or...

  • Applied art
    Applied art
    Applied art is the application of design and aesthetics to objects of function and everyday use. Whereas fine arts serve as intellectual stimulation to the viewer or academic sensibilities, the applied arts incorporate design and creative ideals to objects of utility, such as a cup, magazine or...

  • Arts and crafts
    Arts and crafts
    Arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with one's hands and skill. These can be sub-divided into handicrafts or "traditional crafts" and "the rest"...

  • Faux painting
    Faux painting
    Faux painting or faux finishing are terms used to describe a wide range of decorative painting techniques. The naming comes from the French word faux, meaning false, as these techniques started as a form of replicating materials such as marble and wood with paint, but has subsequently come to...

  • History of decorative arts
    History of decorative arts
    The Ancient World*Antique Furniture*Pottery of Ancient GreeceThe Byzantine EmpireThe Antique and Medieval Asian World*Chinese Pottery*Japanese Pottery*Korean PotteryThe Arts of Islam*Islamic pottery*Persian rug...

  • Ornament (architecture)
    Ornament (architecture)
    In architecture and decorative art, ornament is a decoration used to embellish parts of a building or object. Large figurative elements such as monumental sculpture and their equivalents in decorative art are excluded from the term; most ornament does not include human figures, and if present they...

  • Customised buses and trucks in Pakistan

External links