Born on 7 June 1660 in Leiden, elder brother of Willem and the son of Frans van Mieris the elder, under whom he first studied. According to van Gool he had intended to study with Lairesse, but was dissuaded by the latter's dissolute lifestyle; it is not known under whom he then studied. He became a member of the Leiden guild in 1686 and in 1688 set out for Italy.
In Venice he failed to find purchasers, and in Florence he received an invitation from Cosimo III de' Medici but was turned away on religious grounds. He died in Rome on 17 March 1690. He painted principally history subjects, but his earliest works were apparently genre scenes in his father's manner.