Art Principles and History

Art Fundamentals

What are decorative arts?

Traditionally, decorative arts are objects that serve a function. For example, a jewelry box may be beautifully decorated with intricate metalwork, but the box itself is used as a container for jewelry. Fine art, on the other hand, serves no practical purpose and exists for purely aesthetic reasons. Painting and sculpture, for example, are considered fine arts, whereas decorative arts include furniture, pottery, metalwork, jewelry, and some textiles. The line between decorative art (as well as craft) and fine art is increasingly blurry as contemporary artists and theorists are questioning the significance of function in art.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App