Painter, marine painter, etcher, commercial artist, engraver, landscape painter, draughtsman, animal painter, genre painter and portrait painter
The birthdate of Simon (Jacobsz.) de Vlieger can only be deduced from a notarised document from 1648 in which his age is given as forty-seven. He was presumably born around 1600/01, possibly in Rotterdam. Nothing is known about his training. The dated paintings beginning in 1624, however, suggest that he closely studied Jan Porcellis, who was active in Rotterdam from 1605 to 1615. De Vlieger was also influenced by Hendrik C. Vroom and Adam Willaerts. On 10 January 1627 De Vlieger married Anna Gerrits van Willige. He and his sister Neeltje, who was probably also a painter, received their inheritance on 27 April 1634. Four days later, De Vlieger moved from Rotterdam to Delft. There, on 18 October of the same year, he joined the Guild of St Luke. Beginning on 1 July 1638, De Vlieger is documented in Amsterdam. He produced the preliminary studies for the engravings Pieter Nolpe made to illustrate Caspar Barlaeus's report on the entry of the French queen Maria de' Medici into Amsterdam in August 1638, and he appears to have even helped create the decorations for the festivities. His prosperity is suggested not only by numerous commissions, but also by the fact that on 20 January 1640, together with Rembrandt, he placed a large sum at the disposal of the art dealer Hendrick van Uylenburgh, who had fallen into financial difficulties. Apparently De Vlieger's paintings had a stable market value, for they were accepted as security when he purchased his houses. Around 1640 he executed cartoons for wall tapestries for the mayor's office in Delft's city hall. On 5 January 1643 he was granted citizenship in Amsterdam, but in September of the following year he returned to Rotterdam to paint the doors of the organ in the St Laurenskerk. In 1648 he began work on a large stained-glass window commissioned by Amsterdam's Nieuwe Kerk; he continued working on it even after his move to Weesp in early 1649. On 16 October 1651 his daughter Cornelia married the painter Pauwels van Hillegaert. On 28 February 1652 De Vlieger was already a widower and was once again staying in Rotterdam. On 13 March of the following year the costs of his burial were listed in the church records of the Reformed congregation in Weesp. In addition to seascapes, De Vlieger painted portraits - which survive only in engravings - genre pictures, and forest landscapes. In his drawings he often captured topographically identifiable motifs and figure studies. His engravings depict landscapes and animals. One of his pupils was Willem van de Velde the Younger, who according to Houbraken studied with him in Weesp.