The son of an established painter, Gerard ter Borch was encouraged from an early age to pursue a career in painting. At the age of fifteen, he went to Amsterdam to study painting; after three years he moved to Haarlem and was admitted to that city's painters' guild. For a year he traveled throughout Europe, working for various patrons in many of Europe's leading artistic centers.
Ter Borch was one of the most accomplished painters of seventeenth-century Holland, enjoying a considerable reputation in his own day. In the 1640s he adopted a new pictorial type, the full-length portrait, and he contributed to the development of a new genre type, showing simplified interiors with a few figures in an upright format. This composition became an important format for the second half of the 1600s. These compositions are characterized by great refinement in the handling of color, light, and texture and also by a subtle psychological interplay.