Alcohol, gambling, women are a set of three temptations that can seduce men and lead them to destruction. It is more than few men who failed to resist the above three temptations and crash. We can easily find such men’s episodes from not only the ancient myth or the Bible but also from modern daily lives. French painter George de La Tour (1593-1652) left the sight of a well-to-do young man captured by the trap of temptation into a painting.
George de La Tour is a painter who used to be very popular when he was alive to the extent that Louis XIII purchased the painting. He earned his reputation with his religious reverent paintings, which inspired piety, but he was also talented in the genre that offered ethical lessons. ‘The Card Sharp with the Ace of Diamonds’ is a genre painting with full of wit, which satirizes one side of the world where deception is rampant poignantly.
The painting depicts three people who sit around a table gambling cards. The fancy and classically dressed up young man on the right side only looks at the card in his hands. The woman in the middle in a low-cut dress is a prostitute. The maid serving alcohol stealthily offers the young man’s card information to the prostitute. The crook sitting on the left already has many of the diamond ace cards, which will determine who wins or loses the game. Surely by deceiving. The three people other than the young man seem to be familiar with the situation, each concentrating on one’s job and collaborating. The young man who happens to have fooled into this gamble will obviously lose all his gold coins. The crook shows the front of the card inducing the audience who are out of the scene as the bystanders of the crime.
Is the wealthy young man fooled because he was naïve? Well, the reason he became a victim of the swindler is probably because he was foolish and the desire he could not control. Maybe because he was dull enough to show only the cards in his hands without being able to understand what was going on. Afterwards, did the young man regretted his mistake and led an honest life? Or did he collapse after repeatedly giving himself to continued temptations? If not did he tell everything to his father who had both wealth and power to punish the cons and led a life full of different pleasure? It seems like the 17th-century painting is asking us.