Revista PODIUM, January-April 2018; 14(1): 1-4


Translated from the original in spanish


Historical Elements that link sports with arts


Elementos históricos que unen al deporte con el arte


Fernando Emilio Valladares Fuentes

Universidad Pinar del Río "Hermanos Saíz Montes de Oca", Faculty of Physical Culture "Nancy Uranga Romagoza", Pinar del Río, Cuba. E-mail:

By Dr. Fernando E. Valladares Fuente

Art has been linked to sport from ancestral years to the present day, in its various manifestations: sculpture, painting and in closer periods: photography and video. It was precisely through painting that today's man learned about the physical activities carried out by primitive man, since it was hunting, particularly, that stood out even more when obviously the terms of Physical Culture and sport did not exist.

Today, these works are appreciated from an artistic prism, because in modernity art is closely linked to its aesthetic value. However, the man of those times gave only a concrete functional value to these cave drawings, because art, at that stage, was only the result of a magical domination. Aretoan, (2016)

In ancient Greece, where famous philosophers, scientists and pedagogues were born and contributed, there were also personalities who were interested in human development in physical activity and sport. This vision of Olympic sports arose on the basis of literary elements, such as it underlies Greek mythology. The figure of Mirón's discobolus, one of the artistic evidences of ancient history that is transferred to our days, more than a sporting posture, it is interpreted, in its sculptural fortress, as the spirit impregnated in the athletic figure, the divine gift of the gods with a mythified air, but at the same time carnal.

Already in medieval times, sport, more than humanised and artistic, had a warlike and royal connotation. "Fencing was practised on the stages of the theatre of our Golden Age, just as military riding was present in the great Baroque pictorial compositions". Peña-Anguita, P. (2017). In the Middle Ages, in addition to the development of painting works that adorned churches, castles and monumental architectural works, they also accompanied gymnasiums, coliseums, recreation and play areas, these works being closely related to ecclesiastical ideology. "The purpose of art was to evoke the power of God and to communicate the biblical message. Peña-Anguita, P. (2017). At this stage, tournaments between knights originate, providing the opportunity to value the skills of the soldiers and officers of the feudal monarchy, as well as providing entertainment for the King and the empowered nobles of the time. "Some games arise that respond to the preferences of the new bourgeoisie; but they do not arise as a sporting rivalry, but as preparation and training for war or for self-defense. Peña-Anguita, P. (2017).

In the Modern Age, humanism resurfaces and the classical human ideas that were reflected in the arts are taken up again. However, this did not mean that all human beings had the same kind of games and physical activities. It is through the work of brilliant painters and writers that humanity learned about the games of the bourgeoisie and the emerging working class.  "The nobility practiced fencing, horseback riding, hunting, archery, swimming, bowling... The common people, for their part, used to practice running, wrestling, throwing weights and ball games. Peña-Anguita, P. (2017).

In the contemporary Age, the development of sciences that enrich the evolution of letters and the arts stands out; this makes that the bases are created for the appearance of the Physical Education and its integration with the ethical imaginary, aesthetic that goes in correspondence with the prevailing social class. "Baron de Coubertin" launches a manifesto in favour of the re-establishment of the Olympics and, on 25 March 1896, the Athens Games are inaugurated". Peña-Anguita, P. (2017). With capitalism, in a phase of gradual globalization, commercial propaganda increases, also in sporting terms, cinema and television as advanced artistic manifestations that promote the establishment of products, implements, accessories that facilitate the practice of sport, as well as consumer models from the subliminal or intentional information offered by documentaries, films or commercial spots.

These means of the seventh art, in the model of capitalist commercialization, rely on the development of sport, preferably extreme sports to cause attraction in the spectator, challenge to the adventure, to the unknown and to the purchase of objects that accompany them in the discovery and in the direct contact with nature.

"One-way travel (...) also proposes the link with nature, travel and movement. In a documentary, poetic and experimental way, it constructs a collection of memories, a succession of images, an endless journey, a personal search, prioritising the construction of climates from image and sound". Provost, C. (2015, p. 15).

On the other hand, this bourgeois ideology also uses cinema to make sport and physical culture a means to achieve a superstar, a musculature that begets violence and justice on its own. It is, in some characters, created by the imagination of Hollywood, that values of individualism are intertwined, in search of a glory appreciated by the collective. It is not, precisely, an objective, to project in the films a sport to improve the quality of life of the population, but as an instrument of corporal beauty competition in a society where the image is an indispensable requisite to assure the market. In characters like Arnold Schwarzenegger this example can be well illustrated:

"The constant reiteration of the superhuman quality, of his physique and his invariable German accent, dislocates the star of the national model and thus builds the nation"., mediante la exclusión del reino de lo que es norma (…)” Gergely, G. (2016, p. 26).

In the globalized world, cinema, photography, even music, sometimes exacerbate the use of violence to demonstrate superiority, the result of training, often without a guarantee of life, after competition. The programs are well known: anything goes, private martial arts tournaments and action films that use as an attraction a brutal confrontation that goes to arms and self-defense. "Sporting violence has become a reality common to people, their existence seeming almost natural. Rodriguez, C. S. (2015, p.23), a national model and thus builds the nation.

But luckily, everything in the world isn't so fatalistic. There are other approaches that take advantage of the best of art to promote the good values that sport provides. It is a pleasure to enjoy the dedicated presentations every 4 years at the Olympics, the Central American and Pan American events, any event that takes place in pursuit of peace and solidarity. Our country is very concerned about combining the practice of sports with the integral formation of personality. In Cuba's various Sports Initiation Schools (EIDE), the necessary environments are provided for students to develop skills and talents related to artistic modalities. These become, besides athletes, good artists who in general help to improve concentration, creativity, sensitivity and, above all, help to achieve in these subjects a better human being. But art does not stop there. There are sports such as baseball, which is integrated into the popular vocabulary of Cubans and which, from so much experience and daily use, this glossary becomes part of contemporary Cuban literature. "Walking on that terrain, the space dedicated in the third study to the resonances that baseball acquires in Cuban literature is valid, not only because it shows the roots of our national sport, but also because it implies the conception of sport as an expression of a culture. (...) Bernal Castellanos, R. A. (2012, p. 92).

In short, it is in sport that art finds a complement to the realism that is lived in each era and is a sacred mission of the man who perceives this relationship; to transmit in his work an idea that unites people, that makes them better every day. The idea of using sport to satisfy the warmongering or aggressive ideas of a work of art is not happy, because it is the human race and its creation that in the long run will be damaged. Let us fight, then, for art and sport to be a result of culture, but a culture towards development, equity and sustained growth in peace.



Aretoan. M, (2016) El deporte visto desde el arte. Sala Seminario. Disponible en: http://www.el»deporte»visto»desde»las»artes.htm

Peña-Anguita, P. (2017). El deporte en el arte. Disponible en:

Provost, C. (2015). Viaje de ida (Doctoral dissertation, Facultad de Bellas Artes).

Gergely, G. (2016). The accented cinema of Arnold Schwarzenegger. También disponible en https://www.The accented cinema of Arnold Schwarzenegger-The Lincoln Repository.htm

Rodríguez, C. S. (2015). La violencia deportiva. Educación Física y Deporte, 3(2), 20-25.

Bernal, Castellanos, R. A. (2012) Sociedad Cultura y Deporte. Revista Podium. Volumen 7. No. 12. p.92.


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Copyright (c) 2019 Fernando Emilio Valladares Fuentes