Artists Who Were Inspired by Gambling

  • Painting, like any other kind of art, is a way to preserve the flavor of the era for centuries
  • Gambling is part of every culture but it is rarely associated with genuine art
  • In this article, we will talk about the artists who were inspired by gambling
Artists Who Were Inspired by Gambling

Painting, like any other kind of art, is a way to preserve the flavor of the era for centuries. Indeed, the canvases of famous artists allow us to look behind the curtain of time into the past, to see the life of our ancestors in all the glory of artistic reproduction. And this life, as it turned out, like today’s era, is imbued with excitement and passion for the game. Gambling is part of every culture but it is rarely associated with genuine art. In this article, we will talk about the artists who were inspired by gambling. 

Most likely, the claim that gambling and art go hand in hand is rash. However, ignoring the fact that artists have used gambling in their works over the years is also wrong. Some of the paintings even managed to gain fame, recognition and bring their creators a well-deserved monetary reward. In the era of online gambling, it is easy to forget about the ancient roots of gambling and how closely and for a long time they have accompanied human culture. Indeed, one way or another, gambling has spread all over the world. Online gambling sites in the USA try to recreate the real spirit of risk and passion just like during the old times.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio “The Cardsharps”

The picture “The Cardsharps” belongs to the brush of the famous Italian artist Caravaggio. Painted in 1594, it became one of the first independent tests of the artist, which he undertook after leaving the workshop of Giuseppe Cesari. Having stopped painting the details of other people’s works, Caravaggio began selling his canvases through the merchant Constantino. The canvas depicts a young man, whose expensive clothes contrast sharply with the childish naivety captured by the artist on his face. In the story, the young man plays cards with a sharpie.

The viewer can guess about the fishing of the latter by the cards hidden behind the belt. Besides, the painting depicts the assistant of a sinister swindler, who diligently peeps at the young man’s cards and, using special gestures, transmits information to the sharper. The drama of the picture comes from an impressive dagger attached to the assistant’s belt. As if hinting to the viewer that the game is unlikely to end happily for the victim. Note that the realism of the composition of “The Cardsharps”, which was the personification of street life, became a breath of fresh air in the then world of painting. Indeed, this drew attention to the skill of the aspiring artist.

Currently, more than 50 copies and various variations of the canvas have been preserved. Fortunately, other artists recreated the picture. One of them was Georges de Latour, who also decided to create his treatment of the theme. The picture was a great success, which in many ways contributed to Orsi. Moreover, the latter also proclaimed the emergence of a new style. Indeed, this in every possible way contributed to strengthening the reputation of Caravaggio. However, Michelangelo was only one of the artists who were inspired by gambling.

Artists Who Were Inspired by Gambling
Cardsharps – Caravaggio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Artists who were inspired by gambling: Georges de La Tour

“The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs” has been hailed as one of the greatest masterpieces of 17th-century French art. Georges de la Tour tried with a brush to depict the danger of indulging human weaknesses – alcoholism, fornication, and gambling. Besides, some believe that the work we have reviewed by Caravaggio served as an inspiration for re-examining the topic of gambling. In front of the viewer, a young man surrounded three ladies. Meanwhile, the emphasis is on a riot of colors and characters’ costumes of incredible beauty.

However, only two women take part in the game, the third is a servant. There is wine in the glasses, and in the hands – playing cards. Participants of the action communicate with each other with a glance, and the young man unfolds the cards so that the viewer can see their face value as if by chance making him an accomplice in the scheme. In this case, the second hand reaches for the ace of clubs, prudently hidden earlier behind the belt. And if you are not a fan of such art, check The Five Perfect Gambling Movies before visiting the Intertops Casino.

Jan Steen “Argument over a Card Game”

Jan Steen is a Dutch genre master who tried to bring to his work an instructiveness that at times more resembled moralizing. The heroes depicted by the artist testify to the irony of the author. When trying to sell a painting, its name was changed several times. Such variants are known – “Quarrel of card players”, as well as “Dispute at the card table”. Indeed, a scene from everyday life showed the drama and riot of emotions that accompany gambling.

Given that Sten loved to resort to social satire, even a child and a dog take part in the bacchanalia. The table, on which the backgammon had previously stood, is now empty, and all the items necessary for gambling are scattered on the ground, as well as the decanter of wine. Besides, the main characters are representatives of different classes. This is understandable if you look closely at the clothes and accessories of each. Indeed, they threaten each other with different types of cold weapons. One of the privileged class grabbed his saber, and his gambling partner drew a knife. Meanwhile, The rest of the characters in the picture are trying to prevent the fight.

Here, even the second plan and its participants are extremely important. Moreover, the expression on their faces conveys the atmosphere: someone is drunk, someone is funny, some are seriously scared. Jan Steen was one of the artists who were inspired by gambling. However, there are many more. Besides, online gambling sites in the USA can inspire you to make a piece of art on your own!

Artists who were inspired by gambling: Paul Cézanne

“The Card Players” – is not one work, but a whole series of paintings by the French post-impressionist Paul Cézanne. Moreover, the ambitious project differs in size and content. Besides, work on paintings took several years. Even though they were written during one of the last periods of the artist’s work, some of them are considered classics of the French school. Cezanne is known for his still life painting. Therefore, art historians believe that he chose the theme of gambling because at that time gamblers were a form of human still life.

Each painting in the series depicts two or more Provencal peasants peacefully smoking their pipes while playing a card game. Peasant Cezanne drew on the model of workers from his family estate. Unlike the drunken, noisy peasants depicted in the canvases of the Dutch realistic school of genre painting, Cézanne’s peasants are completely absorbed in the game. As a rule, all the characters in the series are depicted in silence. However, the paintings do not depict excitement or drama. On the contrary, Cézanne’s paintings give a feeling of serene calmness. The art critic Roger Fry described the “The Card Players” as possessing an extraordinary sense of monumental gravity. And if you want to indulge in the special atmosphere of the game, read The Best Books About Online Gambling.

File:Les Joueurs de cartes, par Paul Cézanne.jpg
The card players – Paul Cézanne, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge “Dogs Playing Poker”

Here, we will focus not on one picture, but a whole series of works by Cassius Coolidge. The whole series is represented by 18 paintings. Besides, the original painting has a title “The Poker Game” and was completed in 1894, with 16 more pieces commissioned in 1903 to advertise cigars. Meanwhile, the last painting of the series dated 1910. All 18 paintings contain images of dogs with human features. However, only 11 of them have gambling elements. At the same time, even though the series was popular, it was also attacked with criticism. Among other things, it had the character of personal insults to the author of the paintings.

The works have been copied and parodied countless times. Besides, characters have even become popular kitsch motifs. They’ve been featured on T-shirts, coffee mugs, and home decor items. Note that Coolidge is considered an iconic artist, especially in the world of popular culture. Also, sometimes they ironically call him “the most famous American artist that no one has ever heard of.” Unfortunately, it is not known for certain what exactly inspired the painting. Despite this, art critics believe that the composition of the image is a reference to the works of Caravaggio and Cézanne. However, Coolidge’s peasants were replaced by dogs.

One of the most popular paintings in the series was “A Friend in Need”. According to the plot, the bulldog in the foreground slips an ace towards his partner. This painting has never been sold, but its cost is estimated at several million dollars. Make money in the Intertops Casino and you may become the one who will get this masterpiece! Besides, check the Best Gambling Songs of All Time if you prefer music to paintings.

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