For more than fifty years, Bloemaert was the most eminent painter in the city of Utrecht. He was born in Gorinchem, a town some 25 miles east of Rotterdam. His father was a sculptor, increasingly working as an architect and engineer. By 1576, the family had settled in Utrecht, where Bloemaert spent almost his entire long life. He trained with various masters, first in his hometown and from about 1581/82 in Paris. His career took off during the two years he stayed in Amsterdam (1591-93). A hugely prolific and versatile painter and draughtsman, he initially excelled in the highly wrought style called Dutch Mannerism before taking inspiration from the Dutch followers of Caravaggio. Even later, he developed a more balanced, almost classical approach, particularly in his pastoral landscapes. Bloemaert was a devout Catholic and received prestigious commissions for altarpieces in Brabant, Brussels, and elsewhere. Many of his paintings as well as his designs for prints depict religious subjects. He was married twice and had four sons, Hendrick, Cornelis, Adriaen and Frederick, who also became painters and engravers. Among Bloemaert’s many pupils were Gerard Honthorst and Hendrick ter Brugghen.