Artwork for the Body

The phrase “decorative arts” refers to various creative disciplines dealing with the design and embellishment of products that are typically practical but do not have any inherent aesthetic characteristics. Many decorative arts (such as basket weaving, cabinet construction, porcelain, tapestry, and others) are regarded as “crafts” in general. Decorative art is often included in the broader area of applied art.

What Is Included in Decorative Art?

Furniture and accessory furnishings, rugs and carpets, tapestry, embroidery (for example, the Bayeux Tapestry, which is an embroidery), book illustration, floral decorations, ceramic pottery (earthenware, stoneware, porcelain, and raku), basketry, goldsmithing, enamelwork, silverware, and jewellery art (including cloisonnĂ© and champlevĂ© techniques), mosaic art, and stained glass are all examples of decorative art. It also includes theatre sets and costumes, as seen by Leon Bakst’s magnificent designs for Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian dance company. Chinese lacquerware, jade carving, Chinese porcelain (particularly Ming ware), and Japanese Origami paper-folding are notable examples from Asia. Decorative art also includes “precious or created object” in its definition. FabergĂ© Easter eggs, priceless armour and weapons, and mantelpieces (e.g., those integrating marble and mosaic), as well as theatre sets, backdrops, and costumes, such as those designed for the Ballets Russes by Alexander Benois (1870-1960) and Leon Bakst (1866-1924).

What Is the Difference Between Decorative and Fine Arts?

Painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography are examples of fine art that have no other purpose than to be admired. On the other hand, Decorative art is frequently (though not always) functional. Another distinction is that fine art is mostly based on drawing, whereas decorative arts are primarily centred on technique. Both of these broad norms, however, include exceptions.

Definitional Issues

Now that the broader categorization of visual art has superseded the restricted, elitist idea of fine art, the precise definition of “decorative arts” is less significant. Furthermore, rather than decorative art, numerous modern types of ornamental work, including interior/fashion design, graphics, or computers, are referred to as “design” fields. As a result, the latter phrase is likely to fade over time, particularly because it is so strongly associated with “applied art” and “craft.” (See also: Art Forms.)

Decorative Art’s Origins and History

Ancient pottery, particularly the Jomon style Japanese ceramics, which date back to around 14,500 BCE, was the first decorative art. It was also commonly manufactured by various ancient Mediterranean civilizations beginning about 5,000 BCE, until reaching its pinnacle in Ancient Greek pottery’s Geometric Style, Oriental Style, Black-Figure, and Red-Figure styles.

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