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Olympics also celebrated through art

By Heidi Meili, Anchor, hmeili@keci.com
Published On: Feb 10 2014 03:17:28 PM MST
OLYMPICS ART
MISSOULA, Mont. -

History experts say art is pervasive throughout the Olympic movement. As long as there have been Olympic competitions, cultures have created art to celebrate it.
 
From the minute they arrive in an Olympic host city, visitors will encounter a visual spectacle, including architecture, art and creative performances.
 
University of Montana Professor of Art History and Criticism Rafael Chacon explains, "Historians believe that was probably true of the ancient games as well. It's always been a public gathering. It's brought people together. There's a huge visual component to it as well."
 
Chacon goes on to say that Adolf Hitler was the first modern head of state to take that to the extreme -- building the most modern architecture, mammoth sculptures and holding creative exhibitions to showcase Berlin.
 
"That's been true since the 1930s. To bring the world to this place and what makes it special," adds Chacon.

Russian art often depicts lively people laughing, enjoying community and enjoying music.
 
Chacon says, "You will see the little figurines that sit inside the next, and sit inside the next and the next."
 
Bold colors and figures took hold after the Russian revolution. People threw out binding ideas and embraced large, flowing patterns and colors. Though expression became liberated in the 1920s and ‘30s, Chacon says many artists combined this new, bright boldness with beloved rustic images of Russia's past.

"The folk sensibilities of Russian art will match the games quite beautifully, with a colorful and visually lively culture," explains Chacon.
 
After Stalin came into power, many of Russia's young, energetic artists fled the country or were killed, but their influences are still seen today.
 
Popular Russian artistic themes of nature, the countryside, animals and rural life mixed with colorful, bold images are expected to be seen throughout the games in Sochi.