Jan Lievens was born in Leiden, where he was trained by Joris van Schooten. He then trained in Amsterdam with Pieter Lastman. In the 1620s Lievens was active in Leiden, where he was closely associated with Rembrandt and may even have shared a studio with him.
He visited England in the early 1630s and from 1635 worked in Antwerp. After 1644 he was chiefly in Amsterdam (where he died) and The Hague. Lievens was a portrait, figure and landscape painter.