Art Competitions at the Olympics

The art competitions was part of the vision of the founder of the Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin. Beginning at Stockholm in 1912, the Olympics included an arts competition. All of the entered works had to be inspired by sport, and had to be original and not previously published. Medals were awarded in five categories: architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. As medals were awarded in five categories, the competitions were also named the ‘Pentathlon of the Muses’.

This event was held between 1912 and 1948. As the majority of artists competing were professionals, and the IOC opposed professional competitions at the time, the event was removed. Since 1956, an Olympic cultural program has taken place, replacing the art competitions.

the painting 'The Liffey Swim' by Jack B. Yeats the painting 'The Liffey Swim' by Jack B. Yeats was awarded silver in the painting competition in 1924
image: The Official Report of the Olympic Games of Paris 1924

Art Competition Trivia

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