• Hardik Gohil

Deceiving, I win!

Card games require a lot of calculation, when betting is involved. I have played a couple of games and one of my favorites is Poker.

The tension surfacing the Casino table after every move of the players surrounding it, is just thrilling!

One can make fortunes out of nothing and it could also be the other way round. More often the latter dominates.

Today we are observing an excellent, detailed work by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, an Italian Artist, who created this piece in ca 1595 known as The Cardsharp.

The Cardsharp is a person who wins the game by deceiving his opponents, trying different tricks unknown to the players who are new to the game.

This is what I observed in this outstanding Trompe lóeil, pronounced as Tromp-'loi (Painting which looks as real as a Photograph with high resolution).

- The profoundness in the dexterity behind this Painting is just overwhelming.

For example, the wrinkles on the forehead of the man with a mustache, the shadow placement, reflection of light on the glassy surface of the knife-scabbard, which we will discuss in detail later on.

- The young gullible teen age boy on the left, who seems to be less worldly yet affluent, is in the belly of the beast!

The man with the mustache standing right besides him, is peeking his cards, trying to read his next move and help the Cardsharp to win the game:

- The hand gesture of man with mustache somehow resembles closely to the "trinity hand gesture" of Jesus, most commonly seen in his photos.

\- Can you recognize the untouched wooden board with dices in the left of the Painting?

It is one of the oldest board games, as old as 5000 years, the game of Backgammon.

It is a two-player game, played by rolling two dices. Consists of 24 Triangles called points, grouped in four quadrants of 6 triangles each:

- In the medieval years, warriors or men embellished their hats or caps with feathers as an achievement for a kill in the war, or a successful deadly hunt, just as the English idiomatic phrase A Feather in your cap!

You can see the Cardsharp and the man with mustache have such feathers on their caps:

- The Cardsharp possesses a small sized Dagger, resting neatly in its leather brownish scabbard.

Caravaggio is well known for his detailing with lights, shadows and reflections as we have discussed it earlier in the blog The magic of the Lute!

Click on the link above for more information on his other works.

Similar work can be seen in this painting.

There are two light sources in this Artwork, one on the upper left corner of the painting which falls directly on the young gullible boy's face and brightening it up.

The reflection of this light source can be observed on the glassy surface of the Dagger-scabbard with white dots and the shadow placements of Cardsharp's left hand rested on the table makes it more evident:

- The other source of light is on the right of the painting, perhaps the sun rays rushing in from an open window of the Vintage Casino:

- The expressions of the Cardsharp tells a lot about the tension surfacing the game.

He looks very alert, staring without a blink at his naïve opponent, swiftly pulling a card from the ones which are tucked inside his belt from the back, shows how skilled he is in the technique of deception!

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