Babinsky Cheating the Devil at Cards

Oil on canvas, 60.9 x 76.2 cm

Paul BERENSON: Babinsky Cheating the Devil at Cards

Courtesy of the artist

Paul Berenson is one of the leading colorists of the late 20th Century. His Impressionistic Oil Paintings of wide ranging subjects vibrate with the light of the Southern California sun. He uses form to create an apparent reality as a bridge, from the mind of the artist to the mind of the viewer.

This painting represents a motif from the opera Schwanda the Bagpiper by Jaromir Weinberger. Babinsky is a legendary Czech character who is similar to Robin Hood. He leaves his cuff as his signature.

In this painting, Schwanda has landed in Hell, and Babinsky is rescuing him. Babinsky is acquainted with the Devil. He has broken into the Devil's store room, stolen his jewels, and is now using them as wagers against Schwanda's soul. Like everyone, Babinsky knows the Devil cheats at cards, which is why nobody else will play with him. When the Devil jumps up and declares victory, Babinsky pulls the trump card from the Devil's boot, and wins. Schwanda is returned to his wife Dorotchka, and they lived happily ever after.

Many thanks to Paul Berenson for letting us use this image of his painting here. You may visit his site at