Molenaer was a Dutch artist during the 17th century. He was a prolific and imaginative artist whose works vary greatly in style. Among the diverse subjects he painted are peasant scenes, proverbs and allegories, portraits, religious narratives, and genre paintings. Molenaer is often considered to be a predecessor to the well-known Jan Steen. By 1636, the year he married the painter Judith Leyster and moved to Amsterdam, he had become a respected artist.