The life of this extraordinary artist, if we are to believe his biographers, is soon told. He was born at Leyden in 1636. He early exhibited a passion for art, which his father, a wealthy brewer of that city, endeavored to restrain, and afterwards apprehending that he could not procure a comfortable subsistence by the exercise of his pencil, established him in his own business at Delft, where, instead of attending to his affairs, he gave himself up to dissipation, and soon squandered his means and ruined his establishment; his indulgent parent, after repeated attempts to reclaim him, was compelled to abandon him to his fate. He opened a tavern, which proved more calamitous than the former undertaking. He gave himself up entirely to reveling and intoxication, wrought only when his necessities compelled him, and sold his pictures to satisfy his immediate wants, and often for the most paltry prices to escape arrest.