“The Sampling Officials” (Dutch: “De Staalmeesters”), also called “Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild”, is a 1662 oil painting by Rembrandt, which was commissioned by the drapers guild and was hung in their guildhall until 1771. It is currently owned by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and has been described as Rembrandt’s "last great collective portrait".

The men shown are drapers who were elected to assess the quality of cloth that weavers offered for sale to members of their guild and they were expected to conduct such inspections three times weekly. The Dutch word “staal” means 'sample' and refers to the samples of cloth that were assessed. The inspectors used pliers to press the seals of their city (front) and guild (reverse) into penny-sized slugs of lead that were specially affixed to record the results of the inspections. There were four grades of quality, the highest was indicated by pressing four seals and the lowest by pressing only one.

The painting is used on the packaging of Dutch Masters cigars and is also seen on the wall in H. G. Wells' house in the opening sequence of the film “The Time Machine”.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was an innovative and prolific Dutch master draughtsman, painter, and printmaker generally considered to be one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art and the most important in Dutch art history.

More Info: en.wikipedia.org