The Beautiful Game: The relationship between sports and art in modern times

Open Access
Han, Giana
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • John R Affleck, Thesis Supervisor
  • James Ford Risley, Honors Advisor
  • art and sports
  • art history
  • sports history
  • journalism
  • sports journalism
Sports and art have been intertwined since humans first started making marks. Dating back to the first evidence of art in the caves in Borneo, humans have depicted athletic endeavors in the broadest sense, recording stories of their hunts and ceremonial dances. From the Borneo paintings to the Knossos bull-leaping fresco, created in 1400 B.C.E, to Gabriel Orozco’s current paintings dealing with modern-day athletes, sports repeatedly appear in the arts. The relationship has started to become more reciprocal, as art has become an integral part of the world of athletics as we now think of it. Commercialism, new rules in different professional leagues, social media and changing perceptions of art have created a new and quickly growing field that straddles the two subjects. Based off of literature reviews and interviews with experts, this thesis examines how the relationship has evolved over time. It will explore the role sports and the arts have had together in developing human society, the artistic elements of sport and the developing idea that sports and art are not separate.