Cards in Art

Cards in Art

By Alex J. Coyne © Gifts for Card Players 2017

We all know about the famous series of paintings depicting dogs playing poker, but what about other art containing cards and games? We went digging for some more card-depictions in classic art and elsewhere. Have you spotted any cards in famous art? Let us know what you’ve found in the comments!

Paul Cézanne’s “The Card Players”

French impressionist Paul Cézanne was born on the 19th of January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence in France; the same place he was laid to rest in October 1906. Some of his famed paintings include The Boy in a Red Waistcoat and The Basket of Apples – yes, that did make an appearance on many puzzle-boxes once upon a time. He also painted a series of five paintings during the late 1800s entitled The Card Players. One of them sold for an estimated $250 to $300 million in 2011, which makes it the third most expensive painting ever sold so far. Damn!

Jean Simeon Chardin’s “The House of Cards”

According to the National Gallery of Art where this painting is housed in its collection, this painting was painted “probably” around 1737 by French artist Jean Simeon Chardin and depicts a woman building a house of cards.

Peasants Playing Cards in a Tavern

Peasants Playing Cards in a Tavern reportedly dates back to 1635 and was painted by Flemish artist Adriaan Brouwer during the Baroque period. This, it seems, also made up part of a series by the artist and included his other works known as Peasants Browling Over Cards. Other Flemish artists also added their card-paintings to the mix – we’re guessing card games were extremely popular there, too, back then –  and painter David Teniers’ “Tavern Scene”, dating back to 1658, goes on this list, too.

“The Cheat” by Jon Collier

According to the USC Digital Libraries, this painting entitled “The Cheat” dates back to the 1900s and if it proves one thing to us it’s that cheating has been around about as long as gambling has. The painting depicts four people playing a game of cards together and illustrates that if the newest stranger at the table is doing just too well at their card game, you might, might just have a cheat on your hands!

Other paintings depicting cheating include “The Cardsharps” by Italian painter Michaelangelo (not that one!) Merisi da Caravaggio, showing one player slipping a card in – or out – from behind his back for a better hand.

Want more art? Purchase one of the thousands of card decks out there with famous (and not so famous) artists’ work on them for your next game or gift of cards.


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