This piece is called ‘Cardsharps’.
‘The painting shows an expensively-dressed but unworldly boy playing cards with another boy. The second boy, a cardsharp, has extra cards tucked in his belt behind his back, out of sight from the mark but not the viewer, and a sinister older man is peering over the dupe’s shoulder and signaling to his young accomplice. The second boy has a dagger handy at his side, and violence is not far away.
It was the second such painting Caravaggio created. The first, The Fortune Teller, had drawn attention, and this painting extended his reputation, small though it was at this stage. The subject of The Fortune Teller and Cardsharps was something new: realistic scenes of street life were a novelty, especially with this beautifully rendered attention to little details such as the split fingers on the older man’s gloves, or the teenage cheat’s anxious glance at his master. The psychological insight is equally striking, the three figures bound together by the common drama, yet each with his own unique play within the larger play – for if the innocent is being duped, the other boy is no older, another innocent being corrupted even as he cheats his gull.’