Dutch Baroque Era Painter, 1635-1681
was a Dutch genre and portrait painter. The leading member of a Leiden family of painters, his sons Jan (1660-1690) and Willem (1662 C1747) and his grandson Frans van Mieris the Younger (1689 C1763) were also accomplished genre painters. Frans was the son of Jan Bastiaans van Mieris, a goldsmith, carver of rubies and diamond setter at Leiden. His father wished to train him to his own business, but Frans preferred drawing, and took service with Abraham Torenvliet, a glazier who kept a school of design. In his father's shop he became familiar with the ways and dress of people of distinction. His eye was fascinated in turn by the sheen of jewelry and stained glass; and, though he soon gave up the teaching of Torenvliet for that of Gerard Dou and Abraham van den Tempel, he acquired a manner which had more of the finish of the exquisites of the Dutch school than of the breadth of the disciples of Rembrandt. It should be borne in mind that he seldom chose panels of which the size exceeded 12 to 15 inches, and whenever his name is attached to a picture above that size we may surely assign it to his son Willem or to some other imitator. Unlike Dou when he first left Rembrandt, or Jan Steen when he started on an independent career, Mieris never ventured to design figures as large as life. Characteristic of his art in its minute proportions is a shiny brightness and metallic polish. The Music Lesson,National Museum of Serbia , BelgradeThe subjects which he treated best are those in which he illustrated the habits or actions of the wealthier classes; but he sometimes succeeded in homely incidents and in portrait, and not unfrequently he ventured on allegory. He repeatedly painted the satin skirt which Ter Borch brought into fashion, and he often rivalled Ter Borch in the faithful rendering of rich and highly-coloured woven tissues. But he remained below Ter Borch and Metsu, because he had not their delicate perception of harmony or their charming mellowness of touch and tint, and he fell behind Gerard Dou, because he was hard and had not his feeling for effect by concentrated light and shade. In the form of his composition, which sometimes represents the framework of a window enlivened with greenery, and adorned with bas-reliefs within which figures are seen to the waist, his model is certainly Dou.