Cardsharps and Fortune Teller (ca. 1623–1626) by Nicolas RegnierMuseum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Fortune tellers also became a subject in Régnier’s work. As in Caravaggio’s painting, a young woman prophesies a young man’s fate by reading his palm.
Here, Régnier offers a particularly detailed rendering of the young woman’s clothing: as in Caravaggio’s work, the fortune teller wears a blue shawl and covers her head with an embroidered, light-coloured cloth.
The young man sitting near the fortune teller is so taken with her and her peculiar manner that he momentarily neglects his cards...
The young man’s carelessness is immediately exploited by his fellow player: she leans over to have a peek at his hand...
...and signals to the dark-clothed man in the background – obviously cardsharps in collusion with each other!
The players on the opposite side of the table are also cheating. The soldier in the plumed helmet leans in to catch a glimpse of the cards – and possibly cleavage – of his fellow player.
In his right hand he holds the six of Clubs, ready to play it.
Nicolas Régnier’s Cardsharps and Fortune Teller makes such convincing use of chiaroscuro that the painting was long attributed to Caravaggio himself. In this nine-figure composition, Régnier combines the two pictorial themes of the fortune teller and the card player, which Caravaggio was still handling separately in his work in around 1595. Caravaggio’s The Cardsharps (c. 1594) now hangs in the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.