People throughout history have always had an interest in gaming. Artists are constantly trying to find inspiration for their work and many times it can be from the most unusual subjects and the strangest places. Gambling is one of those activities that has been around for many years and practiced by many people. The activity has also inspired many artists to either create some amazing works or introduce some of the gambling elements into their paintings. No matter what the reason for their interest in this subject, creative minds such as those of artists seem to be drawn to this activity throughout history.
Caravaggio – The Cardsharps
We will start the list with one of the paintings created by Caravaggio. The painting known as The Cardsharps. The painting gives us a glimpse into a gambling event of that period. The completion of the Cardsharps represent an important milestone in Caravaggio’s art career. The painting was made after he left the workshop of Cavaliere Giuseppe Cesari d’Arpino and considered his first independent painting.
Edvard Munch – At the Roulette Table
Edvard Much is known for being the creator of the famous Scream, a painting well known to the majority around the world. During his stay in Niece which is located in southern France, Edvard Munch regularly visited the casino in Monte Carlo. The casino setting inspired him to create the painting At the Roulette Table which was created from his memories and the feelings that he had while in the casino. During the creation of this painting, Munch was experimenting with different styles in order to complement and perfect his own.
Paul Cézanne – Card Players
The post impressionist french painter Paul Cézanne, painted his series of Card Players paintings each one very similar to the other but with different sizes. The paintings portray characters that seem to be peasants and their daily activities at the bar, in this case, the activity is playing card games. Before creating the Card Players, Cézanne created a lot of sketches and painted many portraits as a form of practice in order to create his series.
Cassius Marcellus Coolidge – Dogs Playing Poker
Probably the most famous gambling painting would be Dogs Playing Poker. It was painted by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge. He created 8 variations of the painting and they also received many reproductions over time. The artist has earned the title “the most famous american artist you’ve never heard of”. The paintings themselves are regarded by many as bad art or kitsch. Nevertheless the series was very popular and was in high demand at the time.
Shelly Wilkerson – Slot Machine Queen
Probably the least known painting among the ones mentioned would be Slot Machine Queen. It could be put in the same category as the Dogs Playing Cards painting. The work is created using bright colors and portrays a woman playing slots. The painting is not very well known and can also be seen as a representation of bad art, one of many kitsch forms of art that dominates the art industry.