Born in Antwerp in 1600, Jan Cossiers was the pupil of his father, the painter Antoon Cossiers (d. 1646/1647), and possibly of Cornelis de Vos. He traveled to Rome in 1623 and subsequently resided in Aix-en-Provence from 1623 to 1626, where he collaborated on paintings for the Confraternity of Penitents. After returning to Antwerp, he joined the Saint Luke's Guild in 1628/1629 and the rhetoricians' chamber De Violieren in 1632/1633. He was elected dean of the guild in 1640. Aside from the Caravaggesque genre scenes for which he is best known, Cossiers also painted altarpieces, mythological scenes, and portraits. Sir Peter Paul Rubens enlisted Cossiers, along with Jacob Jordeans, to assist him in the decoration for the triumphal entry into Antwerp of Cardinal Infante Ferdinand in 1635 and the painting of a decorative cycle for the Torre de la Parada, Philip IV's hunting lodge near Madrid, in 1637. One of his few firmly attributed portraits is Portrait of a Gentleman (Jan van Balen?), c. 1650, in the Detroit Institute of Arts. Cossiers died in the city of his birth in 1671. [This is the artist's biography as published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2005: 107.