Ferdinand Bol was born in Dordrecht. He probably went to study with Rembrandt in Amsterdam in about 1636, and he appears to have remained in his studio until about 1641. Bol established himself as an independent master around 1642. Like Rembrandt, he specialised in painting portraits and historical subjects. At first, he imitated Rembrandt's style so closely that some of his works were mistaken for Rembrandt's.
Around 1650, Bol’s style began to reflect more ‘modern’ tastes. Perhaps influenced by the work of Bartholomeus van der Helst, his palette became lighter and brighter; his figures more elegant. Bol became one of the most sought-after painters in Amsterdam. Prestigious commissions included executing several classicising paintings of historical subjects for Amsterdam's new town hall. After marrying a wealthy widow in 1669, he gave up painting.