Jan van Bijlert was born at Utrecht, the son of a the stained glass worker Herman Beernts van Bijlert, and became a student of Abraham Bloemaert. He moved to Amsterdam, where he married in 1625. He travelled in France and Italy on a Grand Tour. In Rome in 1621 he became a founding member of the painters' circle known as the Bentvueghels with the nickname "Aeneas" along with Cornelis van Poelenburch and Willem Molijn. In 1625 he was back in Utrecht, where after he married, he became a member of the schutterij and in 1630 became a member of the Utrecht Guild of St. Luke and the Reformed church. During the years 1632-1637 he was active as deacon of the guild, and in 1634 he was appointed regent of the Sint-Jobsgasthuis. In 1639 he helped form a painter's school, the "Schilders-College", where he served as regent. He died in Utrecht.