Pieter Cornelis Mondrian was born on March 7th 1872 in Amersvoort in central Holland and lived there for the first eight years of his life. He was the second child of four, with two brothers and one sister. His father Pieter Cornelis Sr. was headmaster of an elementary school, a gifted draftsman and amateur artist. Uncle Frits Mondrian was a self-taught painter and commercially successful, even the Russian court bought his work. As Piet Jr. progressed towards abstract art, he came into conflict with uncle Frits, which seems to have had something to do with Piet Mondrian signing his paintings with "Piet Mondrian" (instead of Mondriaan) from 1912 on.
The Mondrians, devout Calvinists, were an artistic family who painted and made music and Mondrian Sr. could afford a decent education for his four children. Early on Piet Jr. proved to have a talent for drawing. His father gave him drawing lessons and took his son to the countryside to sketch. Uncle Frits taught him the basics of painting.
As a teenager Mondrian was thoroughly educated in drawing and visited several schools. His education was complemented by a retired art-teacher Baet van Ueberfeldt. Mondrian Sr. intended his son to become a drawing teacher so that Piet would be able to make a living. Mondrian won his licences and was allowed to teach at primary and secondary schools. With his licences under his belt, having fulfilled his father's demands, Piet Mondrian decided to become an artist, not a teacher, in 1892. His father could not afford an education at the National Academy of Art in Amsterdam, but Uncle Frits managed to obtain an allowance for Piet Mondrian; he was 20 when he moved to Amsterdam.