Untitled #02/12 (after Caravaggio, 1594; featuring Luke Evans)
61 x 71 cm / 24" x 28"
82 x 92 cm / 32" x 36"
Oil on board
Signed lower left
A Private Collection, Miami
Luke Evans' inclusion in Caravaggio's Cardsharps appears to increase the sense of tension and suspense in this dramatic painting.
Luke Evans modeled for Watson during the filming of the Hobbit in New Zealand, playing the role of 'Bard the Bowman'. The handsome and charismatic Evans' career has the trajectory of a rocket, starring in 'The Raven', 'The Three Musketeers' and 'The Immortals'.
A most subtle, though significant detail, is Evans holding his iPhone which resembles a playing card. It is Watson's intention to communicate how pervasive social media has become in our society. With instant access from smart phones we are now constantly in contact with each other. The benefits are vast, often at the sacrifice of privacy. Used thoughtlessly or with malice, it can unfortunately result in the same ingredients inherent in Caravaggio's Cardsharps - dishonest misrepresentations and betrayal.
When Caravaggio painted the Cardsharps, he offered something new to the renaissance art-world; realistic scenes of street life, especially with beautifully rendered attention to little details such as the backgammon board or the teenage cheat's anxious glance at his master. In Watson's version the psychological insight is striking, the four figures are bound together by a common drama, yet each has his own unique role within the larger play.
Cardsharps with its mixture of brutal low-life realism and luminous Venetian delicacy, was much admired when it was first exhibited. Over fifty copies and variants made by other painters have survived to this day.