Work of art
A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an artistic creation of aesthetic value. Except for "work of art", which may be used of any work regarded as art in its widest sense, including works from literature and music, these terms apply principally to tangible, physical forms of visual art:
- An example of fine art, such as a painting or sculpture.
- Objects in the decorative arts or applied arts that have been designed for aesthetic appeal, as well as any functional purpose, such as a piece of jewellery, many ceramics and much folk art.
- An object created for principally or entirely functional, religious or other non-aesthetic reasons which has come to be appreciated as art (often later, or by cultural outsiders).
- A non-ephemeral photograph or film.
- A work of installation art or conceptual art.
Used more broadly, the term is less commonly applied to:
- A fine work of architecture or landscape design
- A production of live performance, such as theater, ballet, opera, performance art, musical concert and other performing arts, and other ephemeral, non-tangible creations.
This article is concerned with the terms and concept as used in and applied to the visual arts, although other fields such as aural-music and written word-literature have similar issues and philosophies. The term objet d'art is reserved to describe works of art that are not paintings, prints, drawings or large or medium-sized sculptures, or architecture (e.g. household goods, figurines, etc., some purely aesthetic, some also practical). The term oeuvre is used to describe the complete body of work completed by an artist throughout a career.