Jan Zoetelief Tromp was born in Batavia, the Dutch-Indies, in 1872. When his grandmother discovered Jan was mute, she decided to return to the Netherlands in order to give him the best possible education. Despite the fact that he was physically challenged, he could develop his creative skills. The only time he encountered problems was when he had to communicate with his models. Luckily, when he was married later in life, his wife would be present whilst he was working, translating what the painter wanted his models to do.
Zoetelief Tromp mostly painted children and genre scenes. The influence of the artist and his father-in-law Bernardus Blommers (1845-1914) is apparent. Zoetelief Tromp's subject choice reveal his personality. He was a positive person and fond of children. His pictures of innocent childhood reflect on the affections between mother and child, but also the youthful friendships between children themselves. He would use bright saturated colours, wanting to portray the innocence of childhood as a very special and most careless period of one's life.