The Card Game - 1950
Oil on canvas, 139.7 x 194.6 cm
Whereabouts of work unknown
The scene represents a game of cards in which the boy is most likely cheating. At first glance it would seem that the boy's cheating strategy can be called anything but subtle and it would also seem unlikely that the girl does not notice his suspicious posture with his arm behind his back. However, the absence of the deck and any other gaming/gambling paraphernalia suggests that the cheating strategy should not be taken too literally. The scene is after all an artist's rendition of a scam in progress and not a still taken from a casino surveillance recording. Quite possibly Balthus was inspired by Caravaggio's well-known masterpiece The Cardsharpers.