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Jan Miense Molenaer Portrait

Jan Miense Molenaer

Also Known as: Jan Miense Molenaer, Johannes Molenaer

Born:
Haarlem, Netherlands

Died:
Haarlem, Netherlands 1668

Active in:

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

Photo Caption:
Painter in his studio by Jan Miense Molenaer. Courtesy Museum Bredius.

Luce Artist Biography

Jan Miense Molenaer captured the lively households and bawdy taverns of seventeenth-century Holland. These images gave a comic spin to the familiar morality tales, and were as appealing to American patrons of the nineteenth century as they were in their own time. Molenaer learned his craft in the lively art community of Haarlem, where he married the respected painter Judith Leyster in 1636. Not long after, the courts ordered his property confiscated to pay debts, forcing Molenaer and his bride to flee to Amsterdam. There, his financial situation improved with important commissions and his wife’s inheritance. After twelve years in Amsterdam, Molenaer purchased a house in Heemstede, but he continued to accrue debt and sold his paintings to settle accounts. A strong-willed and colorful character, Molenaer was arrested more than once for public brawling.