De Gheyn was renowned for his prints and drawings, which were collected and commissioned by eminent patrons. He began to devote more time to painting from about 1600. De Gheyn, whose father was a glass painter, moved from Antwerp to Haarlem to join the studio of the celebrated artist and draughtsman Hendrick Goltzius. He refined his skills in drawing and printmaking, notably in works he made around 1595-98, in the university city of Leiden, an important centre for the study of natural history. In 1598, he was appointed artist to Prince Maurits of Orange in The Hague.