VOUET, Simon
(b. 1590, Paris, d. 1649, Paris)

The Fortune Teller

c. 1618
Oil on canvas, 120 x 170 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

A dark, handsome gypsy tells the fortune of a simpering young woman. Behind her a comic figure steals whatever the gypsy has hidden in her cloak, winking and signaling to an accomplice, who sports a ludicrously feathered fur hat and scraps of tattered finery. He points to the gypsy's victim, but she, despite her foolish look, seems to win the day, as she gestures toward the spectator, and invites him to enjoy the spectacle of the deceiver deceived.

Vouet's painting, with its three-quarter length figures, owes much to Caravaggio and Manfredi, but it is more farcical in tone.