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Art Competitions at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games

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Host City: Berlin, Germany
Date Started: August 1, 1936
Date Finished: August 16, 1936
Events: 19

Participants: 527 (496 men and 31 women) from 24 countries
Youngest Participant: AUT Hans Helmut Stoiber (17 years, 295 days)
Oldest Participant: BEL Godefroid Devreese (74 years, 347 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): GER Walter March and GER Werner March (2 medals)
Most Medals (Country): GER Germany (12 medals)


Compared to 1932, the art program had once again been expanded. The disciplines of Literature and Music had now been divided into three events each. The medals and reliefs event had been split up, creating another sculpturing event, and applied arts was added as a new painting category. This resulted in a record number of 15 arts events. The German organizing committee had actually proposed several more additions, including dance, gold and silver smithing, and film, but none of these proposals were approved by the IOC. One change that did make it through to the Games was that the winning musical compositions were to be performed, unlike at earlier competitions. The physical art objects were exhibited in Hall VI of the Exhibition Area on the Kaiserdamm, from July 15 through 16 August. During that month, 70,000 people visited the exhibition.

Not many athletes boycotted the Olympics for being held in Nazi Germany, but the art committees had more trouble finding entries than before, as many artists did refuse to exhibit in Germany. Entries came in slowly, and the submission deadlines were extended to allow more artists to send in works. Several countries were completely absent from the art competitions, notably France and Great Britain, which had been present in great numbers at the other Olympics. Numberwise, though, their absence was more than compensated by entries from future Axis nations – Austria, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Unsurprisingly, these nations scooped up the majority of the prizes. Germany alone won 12 medals, with five gold medals. Italy won five medals (one gold), with Austria, Finland and Switzerland all winning a gold medal. In three events, no medals were awarded at all - Literature, Dramatic Works; Music, Instrumental And Chamber; and Painting, Applied Arts. Three further events did not see a gold medallist.