While gambling and art are two very different things, many famous artists have featured gambling in their work over the years. Some of these masterpieces have become very recognisable and expensive pieces of art. In this article, we discuss these in more detail as we explore the most famous paintings featuring gambling throughout history.
The first painting on the list is Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio’s ‘The Cardsharps’. Created in 1594, this work of art dates back to the 16th century. The piece features two boys playing cards, with one of them holding extra cards behind his back. The painting also shows an older gentleman looking over the innocent player’s shoulder. He appears to be signalling to a cardsharp who is clearly his acquaintance. The painting is not only loved for its appearance as a whole, but also for each character playing his own part within a larger play.
The next pick was created by Georges de La Tour. Painted between 1626 and 1629, the piece is labelled ‘The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs’. The painting shows two women playing cards with a man who appears to be distracting them and producing two aces from behind his belt.
In the scene, the female on the right and the maidservant are showing signs of suspicion and anxiety. George de La Tour has brought this painting to life by showing the players’ gestures that signal their next move. In 1635, a later version of the original painting was created. Named ‘The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds’, this piece was similar to the first but showed a few differences.
The third painting on the list belongs to the Dutch Golden Age. Painted by Jan Steen, Argument Over a Card Game is one of the most celebrated artworks of all time. Created in the latter half of the 17th century, this piece of art shows how a classic card game can quickly turn into a drama. In this painting and many of his others, Steen captured the day-to-day life of working-class people. He is known for capturing chaotic scenarios and turning them into beautiful pieces of art.
The next pick is actually a series of oil paintings, created by Paul Cézanne. Cézanne was a French Post-Impressionist artist who completed a number of drawings and studies before creating this series, named The Card Players. In total, the series is comprised of five paintings, each of which was created during the early-to-mid 1890s. Each painting features peasants drinking alcohol, smoking, and playing cards. When the paintings were created, this was one of the only ways to communicate outside of the workplace.
Dogs Playing Poker is another series of paintings, this time created by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. Today, the paintings are famous pieces of gambling art, recognised by people of all backgrounds and ages. The series is made up of 16 oil paintings, each created between the mid-1900s and the mid-1910s. Each painting was commissioned by Brown and Bigelow and was created to advertise cigars. Each piece in the series features humanised dogs playing poker. Over the years, the series has become popular all over the world and is commonly used for home decoration.
Influenced by Picasso and Cézanne, Fernand Leger is thought to be the fourth member of Cubism. One of his most famous paintings is Soldiers Playing Cards, a piece that depicts the mechanisation of the first World War. In the painting, Leger combined his area of expertise with the aesthetic of the war, creating a masterpiece that appealed to men and women all over the world. Believed to be one of Leger’s best paintings, Soldiers Playing Cards was created in 1917 while he was in a Paris hospital following the Battle of Verdun.
If you’re a fan of both gambling and art, why not spruce up your home with one of the above paintings featuring gambling? As they’re all relatively famous, your guests are sure to be impressed at your next dinner party. While the original paintings are clearly very expensive, printed versions of the work can be picked up for a fraction of the cost – particularly when shopping online. Next time you and your friends plan an evening of online gambling, take time to look for some of these famous paintings. You could even make an evening of it! All you need to do is find your favourite online casino and get a group of friends together. To really impress your guests, it’s important to plan ahead. If your guests aren’t eating before they come over, remember to have a buffet style tea at the ready; alternatively, you could share a takeaway and avoid the washing up! Choosing your casino beforehand is also important. You don’t want to waste a large part of the evening looking for somewhere to play.
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