Sarasota artist melds imagination, history to create Captain Morgan pirate

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One of the world's best-known maritime artists lives in Sarasota County and Gasparilla-goers certainly know some of his work well. 

Don Maitz has created thousands of maritime scenes, including many paintings of pirates that come from both his imagination and the research he has done over years of study.

"Pirates never said they were pirates. They called themselves gentlemen of fortune, princes of the sea, or jolly companions," says Maitz.

His best-known image may be the one that first appeared on Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum in the early 1980s.

"I wince a little because Henry Morgan is an actual character, a pirate, but this was to sell rum, so the outfit was not historical, but colorful," Maitz explained.

He has supplied historically-accurate images to publications like National Geographic but advertising is a different matter.

"Nobody knew what they looked like. They weren't going to stop and get their picture taken," he says.

Luckily for his fans, Maitz's imagination knows exactly what they look like.

You can see his work by visiting