Despite the close relationship between Spain and the Holy Roman Empire during the period of the Habsburgs, the German School is minimally represented in the Prado’s collection. Nonetheless, among its holdings, which mostly come from the former royal collection, there are various key works by Albrecht Dürer, the most important German artist of this period. In addition, the German School collection includes 18th-century paintings by Anton Rafael Mengs, court painter to Carlos III and another leading name in German art.
With regard to the 16th-century, the Prado has four masterpieces by Dürer: a Self-portrait, Adam, Eve, and Portrait of an Unidentified Man, all of which came to the Alcázar in Madrid during the reign of Felipe IV. With a provenance dating back to Felipe II’s collection are the two magnificent panels by Hans Baldung Grien, Harmony or The Three Graces and The Ages of Man and Death, and two works by Lucas Cranach the Elder: Hunt in Honour of Carlos V at Torgau Castle and Hunt in Honour of Ferdinand I, King of the Romans, at Torgau Castle.
The largest number of 18th-century German paintings in the collection are by Mengs, and visitors can see magnificent Spanish, Neapolitan and Tuscan court portraits by this artist, some of them depicting royal children, as well as a Self-portrait and various religious compositions.