The powers of art were part of the Olympic Games from 1912 to 1948. These competitions were still part of the intentions of the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, and was the creation of works inspired by sport. They were divided into five categories: architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture.
The art competition was abandoned in 1954 due to the requirement that participating artists were professionals, while amateur athletes could be. Since 1956, the Olympic Cultural Program has taken the place of those powers.
With the founding of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894 and the celebration of the first modern Olympic Games, the French historian and educator Pierre de Coubertin saw their dreams come true: men being educated in both mind and body, and competing in sport instead of war. Another of his desires was to combine sport and art, and therefore consider include art competition at the Olympic Games.
In May 1906, Coubertin organized a meeting in Paris to IOC members and representatives of arts organizations, which concluded with the proposal to hold art competitions as part of the Olympic Games. The competitions would be divided into five areas (architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpture), and the work submitted should be fully inspired by the sport.
Preparations were under way for the realization of such powers in the 1908 Olympics, which was planned to do in Rome, Italy. However, the Italian organizers encountered financial problems and were forced to leave preparations. The IOC selected London to host the Olympic Games in 1907. The British organizers planned to carry out the powers of art, but given the short time that had been canceled felt that artists would not have the time to send their work.
Pierre de Coubertin was not discouraged and tried to include artistic events in the Olympic Games program in 1912, which would be held in Stockholm, Sweden. Although the Swedes initially objected on combining art with the competition, ended up eventually accept the idea. The number of participants was rather disappointing: it is reported that only 35 artists submitted their work to Sweden, however, were awarded gold medals in all categories.
The first post-war Olympic Games were held in the Belgian city of Antwerp in 1920, amid the ravages of the First World War. Art competitions were again on the program but did not have much importance. This was different in Paris 1924. The competition was viewed seriously from the beginning and 193 artists submitted their work. Importantly, within participants there were three Soviet artists, even CUNADO the Soviet Union had no part in the Olympic Games since the festival considered a ‘bourgeois’.
The importance of these skills grew in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games, in which more than 1,100 works were exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum, not including the presentations of literature, music and architecture. It allowed artists to sell their work at the end of the exhibition, which was somewhat controversial because of the politics of amateurism of the IOC. In this contest required that all competitors are amateurs. Also in amsterdam, had also increased the number of events, with four of the five categories modifying their programs for this edition of the Olympic Games.
Due to economic reasons and the remote location of Los angeles, participation in athletic events at the Olympic Games of 1932 was lower than in 1928. However, the art competition not suffered this problem and the number of participants remained stable jobs. The exhibition attracted to 384,000 visitors to the Museum of History, Science and Art in Los Angeles. Artistic competitions were also held in Berlin 1936 and 1948, with reasonable success, yet the number of competitors was reduced considerably in these last games.
In 1949 areport was submitted by the IOC, which met in Rome. The report stated that almost all participants were professionals and that competition should be abolished and replaced by a display without awards or medals. This sparked a fierce debate within the committee. At a meeting in 1951, the IOC decided to reinstate the art competition of 1952 Olympic Games held in Helsinki.

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