Son of a Utrecht glass painter, he was apprenticed with the Utrecht guild 1634-7. In July 1638 he was with his brother Andries (1612-c. 1642) in Rome, where he was commissioned by Spanish agents in 1639 to paint four landscapes for the Buen Retiro Palace in Madrid (now in the Prado). The brothers were still in Rome in 1642, but probably set out for Holland later that year; Andries drowned in Venice on the return journey.
In 1649 Jan was made an overman in the Utrecht guild. He was buried in Utrecht on 9 August 1652. His Italianate landscapes were apparently influenced by P. van Laer and H. van Swanevelt, as well as by Claude.