Roelandt Jacobsz. Savery was born in Courtrai in Flanders. He settled in Amsterdam at an early age, and according to Karel van Mander was taught there by his brother Jacob. By 1605 he was in Prague, working for Emperor Rudolf II, who commissioned him to make sketches of the Tyrol.
He was a painter of alpine scenery and fantastical landscapes; he was also an animal painter. His favourite subjects were the Garden of Eden and Orpheus.