Francisco de Goya

Datos Generales
1777 - 1778
The Prado National Museum. Madrid, Madrid, Spain
270 x 167 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
El Prado National Museum
Ficha: realización/revisión
18 Nov 2009 / 11 May 2021

See The Kite.

Análisis artístico

A group of men are playing a game of cards in which one of the players has an unfair advantage. The representation of cheating gamblers was not new - it appears in Italian and Spanish baroque painting - but never before had it been depicted in the setting that Goya chooses here: out in the open in the middle of the countryside.

The gazes of the figures are focused on the character of the majo on the left. The striking gold and red of his attire are picked out by the sunlight as it falls on him outside the shadow cast by the cape slung over a tree branch as an improvised awning. His accomplices give him signals so they might win their opponents' money. It appears that none of the other players have noticed the luxurious attire of the cardsharp.

Colour, light and shadow play a central role in this scene. Using vibrant and bold colours, Goya seeks contrast with thicker brushstrokes, along with a heightened expressiveness in the characters, whose faces are authentic individual portraits, far removed from the simple types that we find represented in previous cartoons.

Tomlinson interprets the coins and the cards depicted in this work as a symbol of the passing of time, habitual in vanitas iconography, as in the companion cartoon, The Kite.

  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Juan J. Luna. From March 29th to June 2nd 1996
  • Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    Museo Nacional del Prado
  • Xavier Desparmet Fitz-Gerald
    L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 vols
    vol. I, p. 67, cat. 8
  • Valentín de Sambricio
    Tapices de Goya
    MadridPatrimonio Nacional
    pp. 103, 213, cat. 17 y láms. 78-81
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    pp. 75, 86, cat. 82
  • vol. I, p. 246, cat. 70
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    pp. 94-95, cat. 77
  • José Camón Aznar
    Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
    vol. I, p. 90 y p. 121 (il.)
  • BOZAL, Valeriano
    Imagen de Goya
    pp. 66, 69-70
  • José Manuel Arnáiz
    Francisco de Goya, cartones y tapices
    col. Col. Espasa Arte
    Espasa Calpe
    pp. 83-84, 152, 190, 258, cat. 21C y p.
  • Janis A. Tomlinson
    Francisco de Goya. Los cartones para tapices y los comienzos de su carrera en la corte de Madrid
    col. Col. Ensayos de Arte Cátedra
    pp. 82, 84, 86 y p. 79 (il.)
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    pp. 294-295, cat. 14 y p. 85 (il.)
  • José Luis Sancho
    Salas del Palacio Real de El Pardo para las que se tejieron tapices sobre cartones de Francisco de Goya: identificación de las habitaciones y ajuste de las obras de Goya en los alzados de las paredes
    in HERRERO CARRETERO, Concha (curator, Tapices y cartones de Goya (catalogue of the exhibition organizated at the Palacio Real de Madrid, from may to june 1996)
    MadridPatrimonio Nacional, Goya 96, Lunwerg
    p. 166 (il.)
  • Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado
    p. 119
Enlaces externos
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