Rembrandt adored his son Titus. He was also the father of a daughter, born at the beginning of his relationship with Hendrickije Stoffels, but Titus was a living, bittersweet memory of Saskia, who had died not long after his birth. Rembrandt watched the boy grow up with love and pride. Blonde, refined, and, intelligent, Titus appeared to be delicate, however, and his early death proved dramatically that his health had never been good. The beautiful portraits of him painted by Rembrandt express a powerful feeling of affection and protectiveness. Titus returned his father's love wholeheartedly: he was a source of comfort to Rembrandt during the dark years of penury and was also of practical help to his father (the artist signed over all his possessions to his son, to escape the claims of his creditors). It was Titus who replaced Saskia as the inspiration for some of Rembrandt's most moving masterpieces.
Like other members of the family (the artist's mother, Saskia, and his sister), Titus was also painted many times by both the master and his pupils. There was such a strong mutual affection between Rembrandt and his family that it is almost inconceivable for Saskia or Titus to have posed for other colleagues. The belief that they may have done has held up the historical and critical analysis into the master's work.