When Poetry Was an Olympic Event



Rugby
A drawing by Luxembourg artist Jean Jacoby which won the 1928 Olympic medal for drawing


I am not a sports fan. There, I said it. So I'm always a bit torn when the Olympics comes around. I love the pageantry, the traditions and the notion of the whole world putting aside cultural and political differences in order to play. I became even more enamored of the Olympics after reading the fascinating blog post on Smithsonian.com entitled "When the Olympics Gave Out Medals for Art."

Including the arts was the intention of Pierre de Fr├ędy, Baron de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics movement, and "for the first four decades of competition, the Olympics awarded official medals for painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music, alongside those for the athletic competitions," (Smithsonian.com).

The works of art had to be inspired by athletics, and some recipients of medals for the arts were American John Russell Pope (Los Angeles 1932), designer of the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives and National Gallery of Art and American landscape architect John Russell Pope (Berlin 1936) who designed New York City's Bryant, Madison Square and Battery parks.

I also enjoyed this blog post at Dappledsky.com looking at the design and history of some Olympic posters.

Art Deco Olympics poster 


Is there a non-sports element of the Olympics that you particularly enjoy?






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