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The Art of Gambling: Risk Captured in Paint

Gambling can be found in many famous examples from literature, movies or paintings reflect different moments of the games that were planned in history and seen to this fay. Gambling has been a massive source of entertainment for a long time, even now in what is the online age.

Over the centuries there have been a number of famous artists, writers and poets which have drawn inspiration from various aspects of the human emotion and passion to be placed into their works.

Within the now ancient roots of gambling form the basis of the work of art you will see here, and it was not just about winning and losing, as you will discover. There are many numerous great examples, in which, the capture of culture throughout different nations are seen in these works of art that speak of class systems, ordinary people, the rich, the daring and simply the participation of games. In this article, we take a closer look at these famous captures and paintings that focus on the entertainment of gambling.

“The Cardsharps” A Painting by Caravaggio

This fine work of art was painted by a famous Italian painter Caravaggio in 1594. The viewer sees a picture of a young man sitting at a gaming table with a hand of cards wearing the brown jacket and black hat. The cheat within this art piece has hid two cards behind his back. A large knife in the cheat’s belt is a clear indication that this card game could end with the life of the young man taken.

There are currently more than fifty versions of Caravaggio's paintings known, drawn by various artists. Everything is devoted to card games and the relationship between players.

“The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs” A Paining by Georges de la Tour

This artistic capture was created by Georges de la Tour, a famous French painter. The cheat clearly highlights the man to the left of the image holding a clear 6 of clubs but behind his back is retrieving an ace card. How there is argument whether the maid pouring the drinks is in on the game given the obvious placement of the cards tucked under the man’s belt. The eyes of the lady seem to be dubious or perhaps show distraction for the man to use the card.

“Argument over a Card Game” A Painting by Jan Steen

This painting has been referenced by many different names but, more commonly, the title is simply The Argument. This was created by one of the Dutch masters, Jan Steen. Steen captures a fight that takes place during a card game. the noble man goes to draw his sword, whilst the common man brandishes a knife at him. The crowd both jeer the fight on and in equal measure try to defuse the situation.

Speculation about the painting abounds, and it is highly believed that the artist wanted us to see that the common man was the cheat in this instance, with his sock down to perhaps suggest that is where the extra cards were kept. Fortunately, this is not the behavior you’ll find safely behind your screen playing cards online.

“The Card Players” A Painting Paul Cezanne

According to, it is believed there have been up to five different series of paintings by the famous French impressionist Paul Cezanne when it comes to capturing the business of gambling. The study of gambling was in keeping with Cézanne's traditional still life.

The players taking part form almost embody the still life nature whilst obviously being living characters.

In the Cezanne series, you will find that in each painting, there is one or more set of farmers playing, holding cards and one smoking the essential pipe. The players are totally absorbed in the situation of playing. The picture conveys an atmosphere which suspends the silence and underlines the intensity of the passions that the players hide under their mask.

“Dogs Playing Poker” A Painting by Cassius Coolidge

This series distinguishes 18 canvases which were painted across different times. In these paintings by the famous American artist Cassius Coolidge, the player is the figure of a dog that exhibits various human characteristics. The Humanized expressive emotions that are clearly seen on the faces of all the dogs, a glass of schnapps, a pipe - all this underlines the special atmosphere that reigns in a poker club be it that this takes in into the realm of surrealist satire. These pictures were copied several times, many parodies were written based on the plot. Card games that are the successors of the one depicted in the painting remain one of the most popular features within online casinos.

“Soldiers Playing at Cards” by Fernand Léger

Fernand Léger was a French cubist impressionist, and this image captures the meaning so wonderfully. Here it shows three soldiers playing cards. They are hard to depict but both the one central and on the right are smoking a pipe. The players taking part in this game are represented by symbolic images, the details of which highlight their ranking. You could say that they are broken down into several parts as details become parts of the general game mechanics, they are of the game and in the game.

Such works like this cubist art perfectly reveals various aspects of gambling entertainment, that completely feeds on emotions and highlights characteristics of human interaction with one another.

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