Why Does Dutch Masters Use That Painting?

When most people hear the phrase “Dutch Masters,” their thoughts will turn to those popular cigars found in every smoke shop and convenience store across the country. There is, however, another meaning behind “Dutch Masters,” and it involves that iconic artwork found on the cigars of the same name.

If you aren’t already familiar with the painting, it’s called The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild (De Staalmeesters). It depicts a group of men known as drapers, who were responsible for determining the quality of cloth that was for sale. More importantly, it was painted by Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, who is better known simply as “Rembrandt” for obvious reasons. If this (abbreviated) name rings a bell, it’s because he’s recognized as one of the most talented among his contemporaries, who are commonly known as—you guessed it—the Dutch Masters.

Rembrandt's "The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild"
The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, Owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

That’s right, this semi-obscure 17th century painting is being used on Dutch Masters packaging as a nod to the artistic geniuses they named themselves after. These original Dutch Masters included many names beyond Rembrandt, including Johannes Vermeer and Hieronymus Bosch. These painters made such an impact on the world of art that their era became known as the Dutch Golden Age. Not a bad group to name your cigars after.

The Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild has been used on Dutch Masters packaging since 1911, and it has become so recognizable that it’s hard to imagine it going away anytime soon. Besides, why would you want it to? It’s not every day that a marketing team is able to take a piece of classical artwork and make it work for their product.

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