Nicolaes Maes built his reputation as a genre and portrait painter, known for his delicate handling of interiors and the interaction between his subjects. Maes innovatively painted domestic settings as a suite of rooms, rather than the three walls of a single space—a formal choice that would influence the works of artists like Johannes Vermeer and Pieter de Hooch. He also frequently included vignettes within his larger compositions. Maes was one of the most accomplished pupils of Rembrandt van Rijn, and at first his style was indistinguishable from that of his teacher. Though these works were well-received, historians believed that Maes became a more successful artist when he developed his own signature style, with brighter colors and more elegant forms. He devoted the end of his career almost exclusively to portraiture.