The painting by Schuler was created around 1594 by the Italian artist Michelangelo da Caravaggio, known not only for his works, but also for his violent temper. It is believed that the original was purchased by the Kimbell Art Museum in 1987. Perhaps Caravaggio painted several copies of the picture.
This work is an important stage for the formation of Caravaggio as an artist. It was written after the artist began an independent career after leaving the studio of Giuseppe Cesari, in which a still-life with flowers and fruits was created. Since 1594, Caravaggio begins to sell his work through an intermediary,
The painting depicts two richly dressed boys who play cards. But the viewer can see that one of them is a sharper. He put additional cards into the belt behind his back. A sinister elderly man looks over his shoulder to an honest player, informing his companion about the cards. A young accomplice is depicted with a dagger at hand.
This is the second picture created by Caravaggio after leaving the workshop. The first one, “Fortuneteller”, attracted attention and helped to acquire at least a small, but important at the initial stage of reputation. The figures of these paintings offered the viewer something new. Realistic scenes of street life, great attention to small details. All these figures are connected by a common drama, but each is a unique element in this game.