David Teniers was the most famous 17th-century painter of peasant life. He enjoyed international popularity in his own lifetime and during the 18th century, especially in France. Teniers's success was marked by the acquisition of a country house in 1662 and by the grant in 1680 of a patent of nobility. His work was imitated by many followers, including his son, David Teniers III.
Teniers was born in Antwerp and probably trained by his father, David Teniers the Elder. The work of Brouwer was an important influence. Teniers produced a more refined version of Brouwer's peasant scenes, and later created scenes of fashionable life. His work was also influenced by his father-in-law Jan Brueghel.
In 1632-3 Teniers became a master in the guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp. By 1649 he was probably already working for the King of Spain, as well as for Prince William of Orange and the Governor of the Netherlands, the Archduke Leopold William.
In 1651 Teniers moved to Brussels where Archduke Leopold became his main employer. The archduke had assembled a famous collection of paintings, which became the nucleus of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Teniers' picture gallery paintings were based on this collection.