The Syndics of the Amsterdam Clothmaker's Guild (The Staalmeesters)
Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn
Oil on canvas, 1662
The sampling officials, or syndics, monitored the quality of dyed cloth. Rembrandt painted them in action, as if they are looking up from their work. One man is about to sit down or stand up, so that not all of the sitters' heads are at the same level. That clever device, the deft brushstrokes and the subtle lighting make this one of the liveliest of all 17th-century group portraits. This work was originally intended for the Staalhof, but was transferred to the Amsterdam City Hall in 1771.