Although generally known by the name of Aert, he usually signed himself Aernout. According to Houbraken, van der Neer spent his youth in Arkel near Gorinchem (Gorkum), a town on the river Waal, east of Dordrecht, where he worked as a majoor (steward) for the lords of Arkel. He became an amateur painter, possibly as a result of his contact with the Camphuyzen brothers Rafael Govertsz. (1597/8-1657) and Jochem Govertsz. (1601/2-59). Aert married Lysbeth Govertsdr (Liedtke) who was almost certainly Rafael and Jochem sister. Rafael acted as witness at the baptism of their daughter Cornelia in 1642. Around 1632 van der Neer and his wife moved to Amsterdam where, in about 1634, their eldest son, Eglon, was born.
Fishing by moonlight