Re-uniting Sport and Art: The Potential of Olympic Posters

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Re-uniting Sport and Art: The Potential of Olympic Posters

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the Modern Olympic Games, envisioned the Olympic occasion as being about more than sport. He regarded the underlying idea of the Olympic Games, Olympism, as a ‘cult of humanity’, concerned with the pursuit of excellence in both sport and art. The presentation examines how Olympic posters have been, and may continue to be, used to carry on de Coubertin's ambition for the marriage of sport and art in modern times. A case is made for viewing the Olympic poster as an object with aesthetic worth and thus apart from its instrumental purpose as a ‘promotional vehicle for Olympic Games’. Problematic questions, such as whether or not Olympic posters can be viewed in detachment from the political regimes that effectively endorse them, are addressed in the discussion.

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