Intermarkets' Privacy Policy
The Morning Report - 1/29/20 | Main | The Morning Rant
January 29, 2020

Mid-Morning Art Thread [Kris]

Bellei Card.jpg

The Card Game #2
Gaetano Bellei

Bellei as an Italian painter of scenes of regular people living regular lives. He seems to have been especially attracted to faces, and how an individual’s face can reveal personality and tell a story. The artist’s technique and style is highly academic, but where contemporary academic painting gets pretty stale by this point in history, Bellei’s work is quite charming. His paintings are full of joy and life.

Bellei painted a lot of card games between different groups of people—elderly villagers, priests, monks, folks in a pub, etc. For me, this was one of his better versions of the theme. This is also the second of two using this specific group of people. In the first work (seen here:, the game has become intense. The player on the left considers his hand as his friends show worry or concern. The group on the right, displaying zero poker-face, is confident in their cards and wait for the player on the left to accept the inevitable defeat. In the second painting, the player on the left shows his hand and the results are wonderful.

Bellei composes his figures in #2 so that they frame the card table, a flat trapezoid in the dead middle of the work. The card game is the prime mover of the action and mood of the piece. The absolute center is occupied by the winning hand and four glasses of wine—items of pleasure. No money is on the table. This was not a game with high stakes, or any stakes really, except bragging rights. This was a friendly game of cards between old friends. There was no chance of hurt relationships, just bruised egos and good-natured ribbing. The loser may have had to buy the winners a round of drinks, which is why the very happy man in the center is filling four glasses.

Many times with a color scheme like this, the mood is somewhat dank and drab, sometimes dour. But here Bellei uses these colors to indicate the commonness of the figures. They are everyday folks, doing everyday things. If the colors were bright or pure, the painting would look too romanticized and fake. This looks real—a scene one would see in any gin-joint in any town in all the world. The browns and blacks have warm tones and highlights, and the painting is dotted with reds. Yellow provides a final, overall wash to warm it up further. The skin tones are rosy, and the smiles and laughter lighten the mood further. The mood is all joy. There is nothing at all to feel bad about here.

Each figure and face is carefully rendered and arranged so that every gesture and every expression is separate and distinct. They can be read clearly and easily. The woman on the far left is the only figure sitting straight up-and-down. She frames the work and makes sure the viewer’s eyes stay in the work. She directs our gaze to the rest of the group. The next two figures look very similar—same expression, same smile, similar pose, similar clothes, same colors. They literally double the movement rightwards towards the losers. The man on the very right edge counters and almost mirrors the woman on the left. He reflects the viewer’s gaze back into the work. The losing woman is probably my favorite character here. She is the Kermit Drinking Tea meme with an “I told ya so” look on her face.

This is a very charming painting with a lot going on. It has a simple theme and uses simple people. It is jolly and wholesome… and just plain fun to look at.

digg this
posted by CBD at 09:30 AM

| Access Comments

Recent Comments
Ladyl: "That's why there's an army of unhinged violent hal ..."

flounder, rebel, vulgarian, deplorable, winner: "Glad you survived, krak. ..."

Ian S.: "[I]There won't be one single damn mention of it in ..."

Winston: "#335 "While God Himself is the ultimate rock for H ..."

no good deed: "I didn't bother mentioning to anyone that Vietnam ..."

Mr. Scott (Formerly GWS): "Who is actually denied access to "healthcare"? Po ..."

TheQuietMan: "Yeah, nothing at all suspicious about that death, ..."

Rodrigo Borgia: "> Ha! Dead Kennedys would fit as they're both in t ..."

REDACTED: "So is Mike Lee, BTW Posted by: CN at February 23, ..."

Ace-Endorsed Author A.H. Lloyd: "341 329. This pope is truly an infamnia NGU. He i ..."

REDACTED: "Bloomturd's spending dwarfs all the other donks ..."

China: "You Americans have too many people in prison. The ..."

Recent Entries

Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64