Jan van Ravesteyn had a long and successful career as a portraitist in The Hague, and the majority of his portraits date to between 1610 and 1640, when he painted many high ranking military officers, members of the highest social circles, and men involved in government who were stationed in the city from all over the Dutch Republic. Among his most important works are a series of officers' portraits (Mauritshuis, The Hague), most likely commissioned by Prince Maurits in 1611, and a portrait of Prince Frederick Hendrik (Dutch Royal collection) of 1612.
Ravesteyn is often associated with the Delft portraitist Michiel van Mierevelt. He was recorded in Delft in 1597, which has led to speculation that he studied with Mierevelt. Ravesteyn entered the Hague Guild of St. Luke's in February 1598 and the following year painted a portrait of the Remonstrant leader Hugo de Groot at age 16 (Paris, Fondation Custodia, Institut Nierlandais).