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 / 05 Jun 2015
15 (P00775)

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
  • L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 vols
    Xavier Desparmet Fitz-Gerald
    vol. I, p. 67, cat. 8
  • Tapices de Goya
    Valentín de Sambricio
    pp. 103, 213, cat. 17 y láms. 78-81
    Patrimonio Nacional
  • Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    Juliet Wilson and Pierre Gassier
    pp. 75, 86, cat. 82
    Office du livre
  • Goya, 1746 – 1828. Biografía, estudio analítico y catálogo de sus pinturas, 4 vols.
    José Gudiol
    vol. I, p. 246, cat. 70
  • L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    Rita de Angelis
    pp. 94-95, cat. 77
  • Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    José Camón Aznar
    vol. I, p. 90 y p. 121 (il.)
    Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
  • Imagen de Goya
    Valeriano Bozal
    pp. 66, 69-70
  • Francisco de Goya, cartones y tapices
    José Manuel Arnáiz
    pp. 83-84, 152, 190, 258, cat. 21C y p.
    Espasa Calpe
    Col. Espasa Arte
  • Francisco de Goya. Los cartones para tapices y los comienzos de su carrera en la corte de Madrid
    Janis A. Tomlinson
    pp. 82, 84, 86 y p. 79 (il.)
    Col. Ensayos de Arte Cátedra
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    Juan J. (comisario) Luna
    pp. 294-295, cat. 14 y p. 85 (il.)
    Museo del Prado
  • 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)
    José Luis Sancho
    p. 166 (il.)
    Patrimonio Nacional, Goya 96, Lunwerg
  • Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    p. 119
    Museo Nacional del Prado
Enlaces externos
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