Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612 - 1642), the daughter of a burgomaster of Leeuwarden in Friesland, married Rembrandt in 1634 and brought him a large dowry. They had met in the studio of her cousin Hendrick Uylenburgh, who was Rembrandt's employer after his arrival in Amsterdam. Of their four children, only Titus was alive at the time of her death in 1642.
Rembrandt painted this portrait in the year after their wedding. In showing Saskia as Flora, the Roman goddess of Spring, he reflected the contemporary fashion for Arcadian and rustic themes, which could be found in poems and plays as well as in painting.