Born into a wealthy family, De Gelder probably studied with Samuel van Hoogstraten before becoming the last pupil of Rembrandt. He spent about two years in Rembrandt's Amsterdam workshop before returning to Dordrecht, where he remained for the rest of his life. He was financially independent and made few paintings, mainly of history subjects and portraits. His style remained consistent, making it difficult to establish a detailed chronology of his work. His broad brushwork, use of thickly layered paint and scratched surfaces recall the late manner of Rembrandt. His late works, though old fashioned, reflect something of the changing artistic fashions of the eighteenth century in their brighter tonality and greater refinement of technique.