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Possibly by Jan Lingelbach, 'Roman Street Scene with Card Players', 1645-50

Key facts
Full title Roman Street Scene with Card Players
Artist Possibly by Jan Lingelbach
Artist dates 1622 - 1674
Date made 1645-50
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 43 × 34.5 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Trustees of Sir Denis Mahon's Charitable Trust through the Art Fund, 2013
Inventory number NG6640
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Roman Street Scene with Card Players
Possibly by Jan Lingelbach

Lit by a shaft of sunlight against dark shadows behind, the group of figures playing cards form a colourful distraction in a rather grey environment. We are witnessing a moment of triumph: the man in the red coat has just produced an ace while his opponent, in the blue jerkin, has the expression of a defeated man. These players categorise the painting as one of a group of bambocciate (scenes of everyday life) set in Rome. Like this one, many show small groups of tradesmen and use dramatic lighting contrasts and simplified architectural forms and landscapes.

Here, the monochromatic buildings behind the players are almost devoid of detail, but they form an intriguing arrangement of shapes and angles. It is the shapes and spaces, rather than the moment of triumph in the foreground, which create the mood of this slightly mysterious, perhaps even melancholy, painting.

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