The Museo del Prado possesses almost 200 paintings of the 17th-century Dutch School. It lacks works by the most important artists such as Vermeer and Frans Hals but taken together this group offers an overview of the different trends within this school. Due to historical circumstances and the hostility (at times open war) between the House of Orange and the Spanish Crown following their split in 1581, few Dutch works arrived in Spain in the 17th-century, as might be expected. Most of the paintings in the Prado come from the former royal collection and almost all were acquired in the 18th-century. Notable among them is Rembrandt’s Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes, a true masterpiece by the artist, purchased during the reign of Carlos III.
The Museum has various paintings by Matthias Stomer and Solomon de Bray, including The Incredulity of Saint Thomas and Judith and Holofernes, as well as still lifes by the most important artists of the Haarlem School: Pieter Claesz, Willem Claesz Heda and Jan Davidsz de Heem.
Dutch genre painting is represented by Philips Wouwerman and Adriaen van Otade. The landscape paintings include various works by Jan Both, Herman van Swanevelt and Jacob van Ruisdael.
An example of an intimately expressed portrait is Gerard Ter Borch’s Portrait of Petronella de Waert, while animal painting, one of the most characteristic Dutch genres, is represented by Gabriel Metsu’s Dead Cockerel.