Nicolaes Pietersz, son of the still-life painter Pieter Claesz., adopted the surname Berchem. He was born in Haarlem and worked chiefly in that city; he probably travelled to Italy in the 1640s. By 1677 he was working in Amsterdam. He was the principal Dutch painter of Italianate pastoral scenes. He was highly productive and versatile and had many pupils and followers. He collaborated with Ruisdael and J. B. Weenix.