b. 1634 Dordrecht, The Netherlands, d. 1693 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Before studying painting with Rembrandt van Rijn in Amsterdam, probably between about 1648 and 1653, Nicolaes Maes learned to draw from a local Dordrecht master. Subsequently, he returned home to embark on an independent career. By the 1650s he had developed a reputation for painting the intimate life of women and children; his finest pictures capture aspects of Rembrandt's tenderness and intimacy. Maes's scenes often include vignettes such as a cat stealing the dinner of an old woman as she prays. By representing an interior as a suite of rooms rather than a three-wall, one-room enclosure, Maes had great impact on the Delft painters Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch.
About 1660 Maes began specializing in portraits, becoming wildly successful by abandoning his Rembrandtesque style for the bright colors and studied elegance of Flemish artists such as Anthony van Dyck. Arnold Houbraken's 1721 biography described the transformation: Maes "learned the art of painting from Rembrandt but lost that way of painting early, particularly when he took up portraiture and discovered that young ladies preferred white to brown."
Dutch, about 1660