A work of art, artwork, art piece, piece of art or art object is an aesthetic physical item or artistic creation. Apart from “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, portable forms of visual art:
- An example of fine art, such as a painting or sculpture
- An object that has been designed specifically for its aesthetic appeal, such as a piece of jewelry
- An object that has been designed for aesthetic appeal as well as functional purpose, as in interior design 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, and/or by cultural outsiders)
- A non-ephemeral photograph, film or visual computer program, such as a video game or computer animation
- 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.