Friday, July 27, 2012

Gold Medals and Art

With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games due to air tonight, we were interested to see this article from on the history of arts medals given out at the Olympics. Although they were only given out from 1912 to 1952, and somewhat spottily at that, the idea that arts could stand alongside sport in international competition is one not often contemplated. Wikipedia has a listing of all the medals awarded, and many of the names are not familiar. One, though, is that of Mahonri Young, who received a gold medal in the "statues" category in 1932. The grandson of Mormon pioneer Brigham Young, he worked in engraving and watercolor as well as sculpture. The image pictured above is his etching "Hopi Snake Dance" (ca. 1924), which is on long-term loan to the Georgia Museum of Art from the collection of Jason Schoen. Some of Young's most well-known works are the painted sculpture dioramas he created for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. This etching most likely relates to that project and probably resulted from the many sketches he made on a research trip to the American Southwest.

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