Together with his brother Ferdinand, Jan van Kessel was a younger pupil of his father, Jan van Kessel the Elder, who was their first teacher. He then went to Spain, to Madrid, where he became a court painter of the king and queen. He is best known for his portraits, although he was probably also a still life painter. It is known above all for perfectly balanced compositions, which are characterized by attention to detail and the use of soft colors. The Flemish style of his still life was gradually adopted by his adoptive country, Spain.