Jan Neyen (Jan de Ney) was born around 1568. Although christened as a Protestant, he later converted to Catholicism and became a Franciscan monk. He was the father confessor of the stadtholders Albrecht and Isabella from 1607 and, two years later, acted as their mediator in peace negotiations with the Northern Netherlands. When this portrait was made he had already been dead three years, but his appearance is documented in an engraving. A book and a skull are characteristic attributes of Saint Francis and refer to his meditation in the desert.