The Art of Playing: 5 Famous Paintings About Players

Art — some of us love it, and some can not do anything with it at all. We encounter it in the form of statues, paintings, photographs and much more. By definition, “art” is what has been developed by humans, whether a thing or an activity and is based on practice, intuition, knowledge, imagination as well as perception. In this sense, art is understood as a human cultural product. Thus, we refer to “artists” as those who perform these activities or produce art. In this article, we will deal with a specific form of art, namely paintings. We know by name many famous artists who became famous for making paintings, for example, Picasso or van Gogh.

Art and casino?

But the question is this: what exactly does all this actually have to do with gambling? This question is easier to answer than some might think. Gambling and betting have occupied a large part of human culture for centuries, so it’s no wonder that the subject is also reflected in art. Various artists have taken up gambling in their works, especially in paintings, creating art that addresses different perspectives around the topic of gambling — be it depicting famous gamblers themselves or painting popular games. Exploring the world of gambling, you may also find StayCasino, an innovative online casino that offers exciting games and safe gambling. Thus, you can enjoy the unforgettable atmosphere of the game and get a chance to win at

In this article, we will talk more about the art of gambling and take a closer look at 5 famous paintings about players.

5 Famous Paintings about Gamblers

Since time immemorial, people have loved to take gambling risks and indulge in playing games to pass the time. Some of these people had special talents that were not related to gambling. Many artists were big fans of gambling and spent a lot of time with this hobby at that time in taverns, bars or the precursors of casinos. Online gambling platforms, after all, have only been around for a few decades. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of the scenes we can discover in famous paintings from the 17th century onwards are related to card games at tables. This does not detract from the value of the art, on the contrary: often in these paintings, a retro mood is captured, which many providers and players still try to imitate in various ways. A picture of the famous Monte Carlo hanging above the gaming table would certainly be helpful in this regard.

1. At the Roulette Table in Monte Carlo

Many probably know the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, although some may never have heard his name before. He is the creator of the painting “The Scream”, which is probably the most famous painting from the Expressionism style in the world. However, Edvard Munch did not only spend time in his native Norway but also frequently visited France. There he was driven, among other things, to the casino tables in Monte Carlo. It is quite right that Munchs was not only a painter but also a passionate gambler. He immortalized this hobby in various paintings, including an oil painting on canvas entitled “At the Roulette Table in Monte Carlo” from 1892. In this expressive picture, the artist captured the excited atmosphere at the gambling table: the nervousness of the players can be clearly seen, although their faces have only been stylistically hinted at. In this painting, anyone who has ever been at a roulette table can definitely find themselves!

2. Dogs Playing Poker

What are dogs doing at a poker table? Well, the New York artist Cassius Marcellus Coolidge has answered this question: playing poker, of course! In his world-famous painting called “A Friend in Need”, you can see a cozy poker round at the gaming table, where everything actually looks quite normal. The only striking thing: the players are not people, but dogs. Some of them are even smoking, for which there is a simple explanation. Originally, the painting served as part of an advertising campaign for a cigar company. Also, parts of the campaign are 15 other paintings by Coolidge. The painter probably did not expect that his works of art would one day be sold for several hundred thousand dollars. However, this fate came to many artists whose works often became famous only after they had already passed away.

3. Jouers se Querellante (Quarrelling Gamblers)

Not everything is always peaceful in gambling, as quarrels are everywhere. Jan Steen, a Dutch artist, immortalised such a quarrelling scene in an oil painting of 1665. Here a tavern can be seen in which gamblers are heatedly arguing, scuffling and throwing crockery and cards onto the floor. Apparently, it is a game of backgammon that has got out of hand. One can only speculate about what exactly happened — was it a case of cheating, or were there simply bad losers at the table? The motif leaves a lot of room for interpretation, which is something viewers can appreciate. At the moment, the painting can be admired in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.

In fact, it is not at all unusual that gambling situations in which not everything is “peace, joy, happiness” are also taken up and creatively processed by artists. A similar painting, in which it is not possible to see what exactly is being played, but in which knives and swords are used, is currently on display in the Berlin Gemäldegalerie.

4. The Cardsharps

Another classic name in art is that of the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Here he appears as a courageous innovator who challenged the great artistic trends of his time: Mannerism and Academicism, confronting them with the austere realism and democratism of his art.

In 1594, Michelangelo used oil paint to put a scene of a card game on canvas, with three people playing with each other. “The False Players” is a work in which he depicted several figures for the first time. What is striking is that a trickster can be observed in the painting. One of the players peeks at his neighbour’s cards and signals to his counterpart to let him know which cards his neighbour has in his hand. In addition, the other player has a secret pocket from which he secretly takes out more cards. Of course, we don’t like to see something like that during the game — but on the screen, the scene makes a thoroughly impressive picture. It is believed that the painting was bought by the Kimbell Art Museum in 1987.

5. The Card Players

This Post-Impressionist painting, dated to the late 1890s, received little attention for a long time. It was considered neither a classic nor a particularly impressive work. However, this changed abruptly when the state of Qatar made an effort to acquire the artwork in 2011, offering a whole 250 million US dollars.

The artist behind the painting is the Frenchman Paul Cézanne. The Qatari offer brought not only “The Card Players” but also four other paintings by the painter into the spotlight. The paintings make up a series, and each shows a similar motif: players playing cards. Unfortunately, Cézanne himself did not live to see the success of his paintings, nor did the painter benefit from the huge sum of money. Today, the works of art can be seen in various museums, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


The world of art has been intertwined with the subject of gambling, resulting in captivating paintings that depict gamblers and the games they play. From the expressive scenes at the roulette table in Monte Carlo captured by Edvard Munch to the unexpected sight of dogs engaged in a poker game in Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s work, these paintings offer unique perspectives on the art of gambling. Jan Steen’s portrayal of quarrelling gamblers and Caravaggio’s depiction of deceptive card players delve into the darker aspects of gambling, adding intrigue to the artworks. Finally, Paul Cézanne’s series of card players, initially overlooked but later recognized for their significance, showcase the evolving appreciation for gambling-themed art. 

All these paintings not only showcase the artistic talents of their creators but also shed light on the cultural significance and allure of gambling throughout history. By exploring these famous paintings, we gain a deeper understanding of the intersection between art and the world of gambling, leaving us with a newfound appreciation for the artistic expression within this captivating realm.

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