Frans van Mieris, the Elder A Woman Playing a Lute 1663


Born 1635
Died 1681
Nationality Netherlandish

Alongside his teacher Gerard Dou, Frans van Mieris the Elder was the most prominent of the so-called ‘Leiden fine painters’, excelling in small-scale, highly refined paintings, mostly of domestic scenes. He spent his whole career in his hometown of Leiden and was the first of the Van Mieris dynasty of painters, which included his sons Willem and Jan as well as his grandson Frans van Mieris the Younger. Earlier generations had been gold- and silversmiths and Van Mieris had trained as such before turning to painting. His jewel-like paintings were extremely sought-after by collectors at home and abroad, including Archduke Leopold Wilhelm in Vienna and Grand Duke Cosimo II de’ Medici in Florence. Van Mieris ranked among the best-paid Dutch painters of the seventeenth century.