Sporting Backdrops From All Over the World
When you think of sports, games such as football or basketball may come to mind. However, long before football players were chasing each other around the field, sports generally referred to card games and other refined pursuits that involved mental stimulation, wit and strategy. Over the years, sporting pictures have become incredibly popular and there are a multitude of different images that pay tribute to the great game of cards. From classical pictures by the grand masters to pop art paintings and contemporary pieces, there are a number of sporting backdrops that feature poker and its legendary players.
Painted around 1594 by Italian Baroque artist Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, this oil on canvas is one of the artist’s most renowned. The Cardsharp depicts an aristocratic but rather naive young man playing a card game believed to be Primero, a forerunner of poker. The young man is competing against two devious opponents who are clearly working together to overcome him.
Gods Playing Poker
Worlds apart from Caravaggio’s picture but still centering on the same game is the painting Gods Playing Poker by Bob Rini. This contemporary piece features five gods: the Hindu God Lord Ganesh, Lord Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Horus (the Egyptian sun God) all playing a game of cards. The piece was a take on the Dogs Playing Poker illustration by C.M. Coolidge and was created as part of the pop surrealism movement that swept Seattle.
Image of Gus Hansen
Gustav ‘Gus’ Hansen is a famous professional poker player who has won three WPT titles and the 2007 Aussie Millions main event. Before becoming a poker player, Hansen was a youth tennis champion and world class backgammon player. Black and white drawings designed to look like old cigarette cards were created with his and other famous players’ images, and are very popular with fans of the sport.
Four of a Kind
James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Humphrey Bogart have been immortalised in a picture created by iconic pop artist Chris Consani. This clever poker fantasy game brings together four of the 21st Century’s greatest silver screen icons and depicts them all sizing up the pot, with Marilyn Monroe giving Elvis a little assistance with an ace in her toes. This quirky and rather charming image has become a favourite with pop art and old Hollywood fans, as each legend appears in the prime of their life, in the way that most want to remember them.
Beryl Cook was one of England’s most famous modern painters, and her moniker of ‘the women who paints fat ladies’ aptly describes her cheeky style. Cook is famous for painting ordinary people doing ordinary things and just enjoying themselves, and her painting entitled Strip Poker depicts exactly that. Saucy and perhaps a little bit vulgar, Strip Poker shows two couples enjoying a raucous card game and shedding their clothes in the process. Cook’s style is distinctive and she beautifully captures expressions and translates them into fun and rather whimsical works of art. Strip Poker is certainly typical of her style.