Born in Cologne (in spite of the name, which originates from the birthplace of his father). Hans von Aachen, as a painter and draughtsman who worked extensively in the Netherlands, Italy (1574-1587), and especially in Prague, where he settled in 1596, at the invitation of Emperor Rudolf II. After the death of Rudolph (1612) Hans von Aachen for a short time worked as a court painter of Emperor Matthias.
He studied painting in Cologne in the Studio of the now little-known Flemish artist Georg Ariha. At the age of 22 years (1574), in all likelihood, becoming a member of the Guild of painters of Cologne, he went to Italy, where he was admitted a student of Gaspar Bumps. While traveling in Italy, Aachen visited Florence, Rome and maybe Venice. A great influence on the development of creativity Aachen and the formation of his Mannerist style was provided by the works of Tintoretto and Caravaggio. In addition to these masters, Hans von Aachen throughout life in his work was influenced by such masters as bartolomeus Spranger (1546-1611) and Hendrik Goltzius (1558-1617), which had dominated the art scene of Germany of that era.
In 1587-1596 years in Aachen, he worked in Germany, where he gained recognition as a master of subtle psychological portrait, historical and religious painting, working for aristocratic families of Cologne, the Duke's court in Munich and noble family of the Fugger in Augsburg. The artist painted several paintings of William (the Duke of Bavarian).
Imaginative activities von Aachen refers to the history of Rudolphine Prague. In 1592 Hans von Aachen wrote an official portrait of Emperor Rudolf II, which was proclaimed in absentia court painter and invited to Prague (moved there in 1597 or 1601). This portrait is the most famous image of the Emperor. According to historians, von Aachen performed the function of Trustee of Rudolph II. Probably this explains such a precise transfer to the canvas the face of the model, but also personality traits. The fame of this portrait can only compete with the portrait of Rudolf II painted by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, in which the Emperor is represented in the form of the Roman God Vertumnus (vegetables, berries and fruit, folded into the image).
Besides painting, 1596 Hans von Aachen worked on the family of the Habsburgs as a diplomat and appraiser of works of art. He traveled extensively in Europe as part of a diplomatic mission, as well as for the purchase of paintings for the art collection of Rudolf II. In 1594 (or 1605), the year the artist was granted a title of nobility. In 1596 Hans von Aachen married the daughter of a Bavarian court composer to the Duchy of Orlando di Lasso. In 1601 Hans von Aachen finally moved to Prague and remained there until the end of his days. After the death of Rudolf II in 1612, became court painter to Emperor Matthias I.
Pupils of Hans von Aachen was artists such as Peter Isaak and Joseph Heinz. Works von Aachen was copied by such artists as Wolfgang Kilian, Domenico Cousteau, Jan Sadeler