De Crayer was born in Antwerp but spent the majority of his career working in Brussels. From an early stage, De Crayer received several commissions for altarpieces from churches and monasteries in and around Brussels. He became a highly respected figure in the community, and in 1635 he was appointed court painter to Cardinal Infante Ferdinand and later to Archduke Leopold William. Although a considerable success in his own right, De Crayer was heavily influenced by the work of Rubens. He played an important role in disseminating Rubens’s style beyond the artistic circles of Antwerp. In 1664 he moved to Ghent, where he continued to receive important commissions. There, he also worked alongside the artist Joos van Cleef, who adopted De Crayer’s style after his death.