The first-ever Olympics
happened in Athens, Greece, in the year 1896. It was headed by a Frenchman named Baron Pierre de Coubertin
, and also presented the idea in 1894. So, back in those days, art
were very much considered a huge deal, and hence competitions and events were held. The idea was for individuals to understand the harmony of the body and the mind through exercising.
Back in the days, as long as 1912-1948, art competitions were still a major part of the Olympics
were awarded in architecture, literature, musical composition, painting and sculpture.
The main rule of law
for art competitions was to "reflect a positive relationship to the concept of the Olympic." Even music was a great part, and events were held in music compositions as well. It should "respect the sporting zeal, for an athlete
or any sport, which were intended to be recited along with the sports events".
And many more such events and feats could be considered for review and evaluation by the international jury that monitors and overlooks partaken in the Olympics. The art competition of the 1936 Olympics
, had difficulties with being organized. Despite that, it was one of the most successful art competitions on record. More than 70,000 people had come from all around the world to visit the art exhibition throughout its display.
The exhibition was also open for purchase. Many prominent personalities, chief ministers, and celebrities came across and bought paintings.
It might sound very surprising when heard now, that medals were awarded for an art competition in the Olympics, no one would believe it today. There is of course plenty of information available on the internet as to why art is no longer considered a feat in the Olympics. Richard Stanton is the author of the book, “The Forgotten Art Competitions in Olympics.” The author dug up the ancient archives of the International Olympic Committee and the modern games in Switzerland archives and read about them. All his research aligned him to the main himself- Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
But in Stockholm in the year 1912, the Summer Olympics were held. The American representative won a gold medal, and it wasn’t for any sporting event. It was for sculpture making. It became a big hype after that, and all artistic events were glorified henceforth. Baron was able to finally organize art events in the Stockholm Olympics, with 33 artists participating.
Over the years, the scenario has changed as the majority of artists competing in these competitions were professionals. But the IOC opposed such professional competitions at that time, and these events were scraped off. As of 1956, an Olympic cultural program has taken place, replacing the art competitions.
Nonetheless, art as a field is very dynamic. The interpretation of every line and splash of color can be different for a different person. Every image can evoke different emotions in everyone who sees it. There is no judgement.