from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A work of art (from Old High German werc , related to ancient Greek Ϝέργον / u̯érgon / 'work', 'work', see its etymology ) is the product of artistic creation. Colloquially , this term often expresses admiration for the masterful , unique or aesthetically successful execution. The term “art object” is also used in contemporary visual arts .


The terms “work of art” and “work” are used to describe individual products of artistic creation. The sum of all products by an artist is called a "work". “Work of art” and “work” have different meanings: “Work of art” denotes a single object, “Work” is the sum of these objects.

The concept of the work of art has been defined differently in the course of its history, sometimes wider and sometimes narrower. Stricter definitions do not assign the status of the “work” to every artistic product. An example of this is Theodor W. Adorno's concept of the autonomous work of art , which only covers a very limited part of Western art. Other definitions attempt to encompass the broadest possible spectrum of art. An example of this is the concept of the work of art, which Walter Benjamin uses in his work The work of art in the age of its technical reproducibility and which strives to also grant new art forms the status of “work”.

Fine arts are often shown in museums or galleries , but they can also be privately owned and therefore often inaccessible to the public. While museums of the arts create collections of works of art in order to make them accessible to the public, galleries are concerned with selling the works on display to public or private collectors. The selling artist hardly has any influence on the whereabouts of the work; Likewise, he sometimes does not benefit from the further sales proceeds, although the participation in the proceeds of a resale is regulated by the resale right .

From a certain level of awareness, works of art are publicly rated in terms of their quality by art critics and art historians .

To distinguish it from the work of art, there is also the term art object, which describes objects that, in addition to their artistic appearance, also serve another purpose, such as arts and crafts ( applied arts ) or handicrafts , but also z. B. produce the architecture .

Forms and genres

See also

Web links

Wikiquote: Artwork  - Quotes
Wiktionary: Work of art  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations