Caravaggio's Cardsharps Trickery and Illusion Helen Langdon

Kimbell Art Museum
Publication date:
23 Nov 2012
86 pages: 235 x 191 x 6mm
54 colour images + 9 black-&-white illustrations

The "Cardsharps", one of the paintings that launched Caravaggio's spectacular career in Rome, captured the turbulent social reality of the city in the 1590s. This early masterpiece not only documented one of the everyday activities of Rome's citizens, but its vivid, lifelike style also opened the door to a revolutionary naturalism that would spread throughout Europe. Helen Langdon, the scholar whose illuminating "Caravaggio: A Life" became a best-seller, returns with verve to her subject and his milieu in this new, copiously illustrated volume. She sets Caravaggio's "Cardsharps" within the context of contemporaneous literature, art theory and theatre, and incorporates new archival research to enliven our understanding of the painter's time, place and contemporaries. By fully analyzing one of Caravaggio's most daringly novel works, Langdon demonstrates the significant influence he had on the future of European art.

Helen Langdon is a writer and curator specializing in Italian Baroque art.

“Helen Langdon has produced a beautifully written scholarly study about two celebrated works by Caravaggio.”—Brian Tovey, The Art Newspaper