Gambling, the Bourgeoisie proved their prosperity.
set themselves apart form the lower classes in that they had the
money to gamble, and imitated the nobles in their high-stakes gambling.
Soirée la Mode. (English title: A Fashionable
Party) Monnier. c. 1829 (Farewell
is the preoccupation of all in this lithograph. This fashionable
party is all gambling; cards are played not only in the
left-hand foreground of the work, but seated figures cluster
together (presumably gambling as well) in the adjacent room.
The popularity and sociability of gambling is clear, as
eleven people are clustered around a small table of cards,
watching only three people play. This piece is a caricature
in that it portrays the stuffy bourgeoisie in their tall
cravats and pretty stockings as they party "hearty"
through card games.
Gambling is an act of
risk. In the willingness to risk losing money, the gambler proves
that he or she has little attachment to money: losing is not a big
deal. Though the Bourgeoisie desired to look as though money meant
nothing to them, in reality money meant a great deal to the Bourgeoisie.
of the Pre-Revolutionary Era, the dominant stereotype of the
gambler was an aristocrat with nothing better to do than gamble.
After all, money was no object, and the noble delighted in showing
off his or her disdain for money. The bourgeoisie adopted a contrary
stance to this frivolous pastime, condemning all gambling as highly
immoral. Yet, as the aristocracy's power waned, the bourgeois took
up gambling as its own. An example of the post-revolutionary bourgeois
acceptance and appreciation of gambling can be seen in the Gentleman's