• Decorative or applied art can be exquisite, magnificent and beautiful. It is not easy to draw a line between such art and expressive art.  Renaissance objects, such as Cellini’s  Saliera Salt Celler (below) have places of honor in museums which rival the places of honor in which paintings are located,

    This piece is a good example of Renaissance decorative art. It is a very ornate piece, primarily made of shaped precious metal;  it was completed in 1543. It has enamels as a part of it, but the enameling  is a minor aspect of the work. His use of enamel was as a secondary decoration. The piece itself had a practical use, as a dispenser of salt and probably other spices. The piece is clearly meant as ornamentation. It certainly would make any table look good.

    Around 350 years after Cellini,  Russian royalty started giving each other presents such as  Faberge “eggs”.   These presents were jewel encrusted precious metal objects with enamel used as a background color. The themes depicted were lighthearted and capricious. The enamel over textured gold looked great. The scenes depicted were lighthearted and stylized; human scenes depicted people living in great luxury.

    The Cellini Salt Cellar and the Faberge Egg above used vitreous enamel in a limited way.  The contemporary bowl above, made by June Jasen is also a decorative object, but the enamel and the material which she has embedded into the enamel are the primary elements. The shape of the bowl is basic; there is no ornate metal work. The main visual feature is the enameling.  It’s message seems to capture the transient beauty found in an ephemeral nature.

    These three objects were all designed to decorate. In history decorative art has been applied to functional objects, thus the Cellini Salt Cellar is a major attention getter, but it has the function of dispensing salt. Embellishment can be taken to such a degree that no real function would remain, as in the Faberge eggs. Fine art on the other hand, is meant primarily to depict ideas, emotions and aspects of the human experience. The border between decorative art and fine art is not always clear. The June  Jasen piece, is an example.

    AFFAE, Inc. proposes to advocate for appreciation of those wall-hangings and sculptural objects  that are primarily and recognizably glass fused on metal, are intended to serve no function,  and are at least 12″ x 12″.