Quiringh van Brekelenkam was presumably born in Zwammerdam (near Leiden), not before 1622. According to an anonymous eighteenth-century manuscript about the Leiden school of painters (Gemeentearchief, Leiden), he was a pupil of Gerrit Dou. His earliest dated painting comes from 1648. In March of that year he joined the newly founded Guild of St Luke in Leiden, and in April, in the Roman Catholic church in Rijnsaterswoude (near Leiden), he married Marie Jans Charle, who died after the birth of her sixth child in 1655. In 1656 he took Elisabeth van Beaumont as his second wife; she bore him three more children. He paid his last dues to the guild in 1668. The latest dates on his paintings are 1668 and 1669, and it is assumed that he died shortly afterwards. Brekelenkam's multifaceted oeuvre includes bourgeois interiors, tavern and market scenes, and numerous depictions of professions, mostly tailors and shoemakers. He was often attracted to the subject of the praying or reading hermit as well, and there are occasional portraits and still lifes. The subjects and motifs of his genre painting betray the influence of Gerrit Dou (1613-1675), Gerard ter Borch (1617-1681) and Jan Steen (ca. 1626-1679). A painting style that uses little solvent is characteristic of his work, as are subtle gestures and glances by means of which the figures in the painting appear to communicate with each other.