VELSEN, Jacob van
(b. ca. 1597, Delft, d. 1656, Amsterdam)

Biography

Dutch painter. Almost nothing is known about the early part of his life. He was the son of a certain Jan Jacobsz van Velsen and Janntegen Jansdr van der Hooch and was born about 1597. He is next mentioned in 1625 when he entered the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft. Apparently his family was so poor that his mother had to pay in three instalments the registration fee and the first annual membership fee. It is often assumed that he was the pupil of Anthonie Palamedesz, but there is no documentary evidence of it. He never needed to earn a living from his painting, since in 1626 he married Geertgen Jans Crol, a wealthy Catholic widow.

Van Velsen spent his entire life in Delft, but died in Amsterdam perhaps while on a journey. An enormous inventory of his possessions, drawn up at his death, reveals the family's considerable wealth. According to a prenuptial agreement, the property was to be divided among his widow, his five children, and other members of the family.