His father was a hopman, which is a Dutch term for a flag bearer of a schutterij. When his son seemed to have more interest in art than in military matters, he was sent to learn drawing from a portrait painter, Dirck Govertsz, at the young age of eight. At thirteen he became the pupil of Jan Both where he stayed six years, until he left Utrecht for a trip to Rome. He made drawings of all the places he stayed, especially new buildings or items of interest. His work was in demand in Venice, so he stayed in Italy for ten years. On his return journey in Paris, he met the son of the Mayor (burgermeester) of Maarseveen, who was on his Grand Tour to Italy and who persuaded him to be his guide. He again spent three more years in Italy and returned finally to Gorinchem in 1662, where he continued to paint soldiers on horseback in natural landscapes.