He was born in Cologne, but his name is derived from the birthplace of his father, Aachen in Germany. Other variations of the name include Johann von - and - von Achen and various concisions like Janachen, Fanachen, Abak, Jean Dac, Aquano, van Aken etc.
Allegory or The Triumph of Justice (1598), German title: "Sieg der Wahrheit unter dem Schutze der Gerechtigkeit"-
Oil on copper, 56 x 47 cm Alte Pinakothek, Munich
He returned to Germany in 1588 where he became well known as a painter of portraits for noble houses. He also produced historical and religious scenes and earned a wide reputation. Among his patrons were the Fugger family. He painted several works for Duke William V of Bavaria. He married Regina, the daughter of the composer Orlando di Lasso in Munich. In Munich he came into contact with the Imperial Court in Prague. In 1592 he was appointed official painter of Rudolph II, Holy Roman Emperor. However, Von Aachen only moved to Prague years later (there is contention as to the date - 1601 or 1597), where he stayed and was commissioned to paint mythological and allegorical subjects such as his Liberation of Hungary (1598, Budapest). Emperor Rudolph II conferred knighthood on him in 1605. Von Aachen continued working on commissions under the newly appointed ruler, Matthias I. He died in Prague.