Maes underwent some initial artistic training in his native Dordrecht. Aged about fifteen, he moved to Amsterdam and became a pupil of Rembrandt. By his early twenties, Maes had returned to Dordrecht to begin an independent career. Although he retained aspects of Rembrandt’s style, such as his strong chiaroscuro, Maes developed his own approach to painting that was more intimate and small scale. Throughout the 1650s, he made numerous small genre pictures showing domestic scenes. The illusion of depth that he created through his mastery of perspective subsequently influenced the likes of Pieter de Hooch and Johannes Vermeer. After 1660, Maes almost exclusively painted portraits. His palette gradually lightened and his compositions were strongly influenced by Van Dyck.