Smokers' prints Europe
We learn about historic pipe smoking by means of contemporary prints and drawings. In fact, many prints record daily life, giving an overall picture of the person in his environment, including the tobacco pipe. This gives us an idea of the length of the stem and the attitude of the smoker towards his pipe. The difference, for example, is obvious between the smoking farmer with a stub of pipe between his teeth and the gentleman who smokes from a long straight clay pipe. Note that every smoker holds the pipe by the stem, the bowl is too warm due to the smoldering tobacco.
Initially we see exclusively clay pipes depicted in visual art, since there was no other choice. At the end of the eighteenth century, a pipe made of a different material was occasionally added. Meerschaum and wood are the earliest examples. In the nineteenth century we see progressively the cigar portrayed. The cigarette did not appear in the visual arts until the twentieth century.
The fact that the artist pays serious attention to the tobacco pipe has to do with the pursuit of realism. In addition, the pipe offered the opportunity to complete the silhouette of the depicted person and give him a distinctive appearance. Finally, clouds of smoke offer an extra factor to make the image more expressive. Now and then a caricature indicates what people surprised at the time.