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Soldiers Playing Cards and Dice (The Cheats)

Valentin de Boulogne French

Not on view

The theme of the guileless victim of cardsharps is here treated on the scale normally accorded a formal history painting. The two figures playing dice—a game of pure chance—add a further comment on the vices and unpredictability of life. The helmeted soldier is the same one who accompanies David in David with the Head of Goliath, on view nearby. Apart from the treatment of light and the description of the cast shadows, the picture is notable for the means by which Valentin suggests an ongoing activity. It is also remarkable for the mid-calf cropping, so as to indicate a floor continuous with the viewer’s: a shared space.

Soldiers Playing Cards and Dice (The Cheats), Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591–1632 Rome), Oil on canvas

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