The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds, 1620s

Audio Guide# 4379

by Georges de LA TOUR (Vic-sur-Seille, 1593 - Lunéville, 1652)

Sully wing, 2nd floor, Room 24




A foolish, drunken rich young man in poncy clothes and with gold coins sits on the right (yes, it's a guy). 
The other three, the ones with the sly glances, are cheating him: the cardshark on the left with excess cards behind his back, the prostitute sitting in the middle wearing her business clothing of orange hat, pearls and cleavage and the standing maidservant plying them with booze. "Wine, women and gambling are bad, you prodigal son!" screams this cautionary tale, this moral story... to no avail. 400 years later, Las Vegas and Reno do brisk business in all three.

Extra credit
These were very busy times: Boston was founded, the Taj Mahal was built, Pocahontas met John Smith, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, Shakespeare died, the Roman Inquisition hounded Galileo, the Ming dynasty ended and the Qing began in China, Napier discovered logarithms and Quebec City was founded indirectly by King Henry IV, whose mistress' nipple is in a painting here at the Louvre
The painter, La Tour^, was modestly well-known at his time but became wildly popular around the 20th century. He made an near-duplicate, but with an ace of clubs^, which is in the Kimbell museum in Texas. 

Both were inspired by Caravaggio's Cardsharps^ ^ (also in the Texas museum) in its subject, rich colors and high contrast between dark and light called chiaroscuro.
Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) - The Cardsharps - Google Art Project.jpg
Caravaggio's Cardsharps^, the original inspiration

In our considered opinion, when it comes to paintings about cards, Dogs Playing Poker is far superior and is best viewed with a cold beer and a stogie.
Also, Google results: "The Cheat with the Ace of Diamonds": 390,000. "Dogs Playing Poker": 960,000, about 2.5 times, and justly so.

French title: Le Tricheur à l'as de carreau
References: Louvre