Frans van Mieris the Elder

Born: April 16, 1635  - Death: March 12, 1681    Located in: The Rembrandt Room

Mieris was a Dutch painter of scenes from everyday life, or genre painter, and also of portraits. He is recognized more for his genre depictions of the wealthy, but also in his portrait work and his occasional allegorical pieces. Mieris was raised in Leiden in South Holland, the city also home to artists such as Gerard Dou (1613 – 1675), Jan Van Goyen (1596 – 1656), Gabriel Metsu (1629 – 1667), Rembrandt (1606 – 1669) and Jan Steen (1626 – 1679). His sons Jan (1660 – 1690), Willem (1662 – 1747) and grandson Frans the younger (1689 – 1763) also had careers as genre painters.

Mieris trained early on with the artisan Abraham Torenvliet, also exposed to his inspiration for everyday life through his father’s goldsmith workshop. He later trained under Gerard Dou, becoming his most promising and later praised pupil. Through Dou, he acquired a wonderful talent for attention to the fabrics of people’s dress and vibrant portrayal of its coloring. He was patronized by a number prominent leaders, including, Archduke Leopold I, the Holy Roman Emperor (1640 – 1705) and the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de ‘Medici (1642 – 1723).

Some of his best exampled works are the pieces, A Party of Ladies and Gentlemen at an Oyster Luncheon, and Doctor Feeling a Lady’s Pulse. His works at the Uffizi Gallery include The Dutch Charlatan, Two Old Men and the Table, and The painter’s Family.

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