Born on 6 April 1635 in Leiden, he first trained as a goldsmith under his father, and then studied briefly with the glass-painter Abraham Toorenvliet before entering the workshop of Dou, probably c.1650s. He also studied for a time under the portrait painter Abraham van den Tempel before completing his training under Dou.
His earliest known dated painting is of 1657 and he entered the Leiden guild in 1658. He served as dean in 1665. He died in Leiden on 12 March 1681. Dou acknowledged him as the 'Prince of his pupils' and he was the most influential of the Leiden school of 'fine painters'.