Born in The Hague, Maris trained in Antwerp and Paris, where he was greatly influenced by the art of the Barbizon painters. Much of his early work consisted of domestic scenes of figures. When Jacob returned to his native town in the summer of 1871, he had turned his back on figurative painting to concentrate on landscapes. These he tackled with his distinctive bold style. Maris’s masterful ability to capture light and atmosphere is evident in the numerous paintings he made of the same scene in slightly varying conditions. He became one of the most important members of an influential group of painters collectively known as the 'Hague School'. Despite teaching only three formal pupils (including his brother Willem), Maris’s paintings exerted an enormous influence on a number of artists.