Translated from the online collection catalogue of the Rijksmuseum:

The wardens (the sampling officials) of the Amsterdam drapers’ guild, gathered around a table. On the table lies a Persian cloth and an opened sample book. Pictured are (from left to right): Jacob van Loon (1595-1674), Volckert Jansz (1605/10-81), Willem van Doeyenburg (ca. 1616-87), the servant Frans Hendricksz Bel (1629-1701), Aernout van der Mye (ca. 1625-81) and Jochem de Neve (1629-81). On the right above the fireplace a painting with a burning beacon.

This is Rembrandt's first and only regents group portrait. It stands out because of its exceptional size and the more than life-size figures. The eyes of all sampling officials - who were tasked with assessing the quality of colored cloth - are on us. One of them rises from his chair, as if he has just noticed us. The low viewpoint makes the table appear to protrude from the picture.

After suffering financial difficulties in the 1650s, Rembrandt moved to a rental house on the Rozengracht. The Amsterdam elite no longer knocked on his door as often as before. He nevertheless remained popular: this important drapers’ guild commissioned him to paint a group portrait. Rembrandt produced a lively scene by having the wardens look up from their work as if they are interrupted by our arrival.

For all information provided in the online catalogue, click here, or on the picture above.


The wardens of the Amsterdam drapers’ guild pictured on Rembrandt's famous painting assess the quality of a number of samples. Every draper who wanted to join the guild had to submit such a sample cloth to these sampling officials as a master’s test. Entry into an (informal) guild, or at least the ambition to do so, is nowadays still the goal for students who are preparing for a career in their discipline or professional field. They also have to complete a master's thesis to show that they have the knowledge, insights and skills needed to start a professional career.

This requires thorough preparation. As stated in the foreword, Communicate as a Professional considers communication education to be an essential part of this preparation. After all, no matter how diverse the professional fields in which graduates may find themselves, they are always expected to be able to communicate in a professional manner - both within their own organization and outside it.

In order to adequately carry out such communication tasks, professionals not only need to have a large repertoire of knowledge and communicative skills, they also need to be able to use that repertoire accurately. That is, they should always choose what best suits the communicative situation and the goals they want to achieve. During their training, students face a variety of tasks that are largely new to them. In order to successfully complete these tasks, students also need to have a broad repertoire of knowledge and skills at their disposal, from which they always need to make the right choices. In addition, they also need to be sufficiently experienced to apply their communicative knowledge and skills effectively and successfully in a variety of situations.

Communicate as a Professional tries to lay a solid foundation for this. This ensures that the ‘sampling officials’ whom students will at some point face, will make a positive assessment of the samples of professional communication that the students show them.