Jan Miel was almost certainly natural from Flemish town Beveren-Waas. Miel’s premature learning took place in Antwerp. His visit to Rome for near 20 years is recorded. There Miel became an associate of the so-called “Bentvueghels”, a group of mostly Dutch and Flemish painters.
In Italian capital, Jan Miel as well was connected to the group of genre artists which were led by the Pieter van Laer. They were named to as 'Bamboccianti' and they are painting as a rule small-sized works, oil paintings or woodcut prints, of the daily Roman’s existence of the poor classes. Miel was a prominent figure in the growth of this new art practice in the city.
He was the first Flemish painter to be declared a member to the Accademia di San Luca, a high-status alliance of famous painters in Italy. From 1658 Jan Miel moved from Rome to Turin and lived until his death time he there. In Turin, Miel was employed of Charles Emanuel II, the Duke of Savoy for his court artist.
His first works demonstrated his attention to poor people connected in their everyday labor or at free time. Typical themes were cart players, country dances, frauds, cobblers, traveling musicians and comedians, etc.