(1631–64). Dutch painter, draughtsman, and etcher, from a prosperous Catholic background in Haarlem. Bega's mother was the daughter of Cornelisz. van Haarlem, one of the leading painters of the previous generation, whose collection of drawings she inherited. Bega was a genre painter with a wide range of subject matter including tavern and village scenes and domestic interiors, as well as single figures such as quack doctors and gamblers. In some cases these have a moralizing content which may have influenced Jan Steen. Bega was probably a pupil of Adriaen van Ostade. In 1653 he travelled extensively throughout Germany, Switzerland, and France. Much of his work survives including 160 paintings, over 80 drawings, and 34 etchings. A small number of monotypes are also extant; Bega was one of the earliest exponents of this process. Bega's early works are freely painted compositions with many figures. Later works of the 1660s such as The Duet (1663; Stockholm, Nationalmus.) become more finely detailed with an increased richness of colour and have more in common with the Leiden fijnschilders such as Dou.
From The Oxford Companion to Western Art in Oxford Reference.