Roslin was born on July 15, 1718, in Malmö, Sweden. In 1759 he married Marie-Suzanne Giroust. He plied his trade in Stockholm, Bayreuth, Vienna, Paris and Italy. From 1750, he worked mainly in Paris.
A number of portraits of Russian Imperial statesmen have been attributed to Roslin, including portraits of Ivan Betskoi and Ivan Shuvalov. He also painted some notable portraits of Polish and French aristocratic ladies. The vast majority of his paintings feature aristocrats and nobility in Europe.