What Are Some Amazing Depictions of Sports and Athletes in Art?

It is often considered that competitive sports and art don’t mix well together. However, when given the opportunity and passion, art can be made in any situation. Sports happen to be a different type of art, often more expressive in a physical manner.

In soccer, the FIFA World Cup is the place where one can expect to see some of the most interesting matches. National teams sometimes need an extra push, which is why back when the Nigerian soccer team got $2 million USD more than they expected, their focus was much better.

With sports flourishing, art flourishes as well. With that in mind, traditional art capturing athletes is not unheard of, so here are some of the world’s most interesting examples.

A Rally by Sir John Lavery

Tennis wasn’t that much of a sport back in the 1880s, or to be specific, in 1885, when this painting was created. Vulcanized rubber balls surfaced and the sport was starting to change. It is said that John Lavery became fascinated by tennis in 1874. By the time he painted this woman struggling to get the ball across the net, or rather, play tennis at all, he was already a proficient painter and a tennis player himself. It is an interesting impressionist painting that is just a part of the series of sports paintings made by Lavery.

The Discobolus of Myron

This is a historic sculpture, made by the Ancient Greek sculptor, Myron of Eleutherae. The sculpture is a bronze depiction of a young man holding a discus and preparing for a throw. The sculpture is rather famous but the original one, made from bronze, is lost. There are thousands of copies, the most famous ones being Roman. Modern copies exist and are typically done from marble or bronze, the former being the cheaper of the two materials. Some of them were done to scale, while others are miniature. It remains a popular sculpture to this day, one that is frequently on display in various shapes and sizes.

Pulcinella and the Tumblers by Tiepollo Giovanni Battista

Traveling gymnasts were not uncommon in the 18th and 19th century. It was an interesting profession that sought to entertain and keep one’s feet on the road. Battista was inspired by such a performance and made a fresco to commemorate it. He used Pulcinella, a figure who is known as a trickster in a black mask, who managed to turn the world upside-down. The result are the gymnasts, or tumblers, who are agile enough to walk this world on their arms, tumbling and moving without much effort. The fresco was made in 1797.

The Biglin Brothers Turning the Stake by Thomas Eakins

Rowing and paddling races are interesting to this day. That being said, back in 1873, rowing was a great passion of one Thomas Eakins, who knew how to handle an oar. He decided to make a painting to express his love and passion for the sport.

The painting depicts the Biglin brothers turning and winning a race. The turn is painted in detail, meticulously. One of the brothers is pulling the oar, Barney, while the other, John, is pushing it, to complete a turn. The brothers won the race and the painting, realistic as it is, shows it in all its glory.

These are some of the world’s most interesting artistic depictions of sports.