Caravaggio – The Cardsharps

The Cardsharps – c. 1594 Kimbell Art Museum

The Cardsharps – c. 1594
Kimbell Art Museum

Caravaggio came to Rome in the early 1590s. There his early masterpiece The Cardsharps (1594) came to the attention of the influential Cardinal Francesco Maria del Monte, who not only purchased it but also offered the artist quarters in his palace. Caravaggio was thus introduced to the elite stratum of Roman ecclesiastical society, which soon gave him his first significant opportunity to work on a large scale and for a public forum. Cardsharps, with its mixture of brutal low-life realism and luminous Venetian delicacy, was much admired by other artists who went around acclaiming Caravaggio's new style and heightening the reputation of his work. Over fifty copies and variants made by other painters have survived, with artists such as George de la Tour painting their own appreciations of the theme. To see the original:

Ed Wheeler

Santa Classics, 2601 Pennsylvania Ave, Apt 712, Philadelphia, PA 19130