Most of the collection in the State Gallery of Johannisburg Palace was assembled here under the last elector and archbishop of Mainz, Friedrich Karl von Erthal. It is an impressive and also a representative example of a late 18th century art collection. The pictures have has been shown since 1794 in Johannisburg Palace, the subsidiary residence of the Mainz electoral bishops, with the addition in 1802/03 of the famous paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder and his atelier from the collegiate church. These were originally commissioned by Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, a powerful ecclesiastical prince and opponent of Martin Luther.
The works of the Flemish, Dutch and German masters are grouped into compactly arranged ensembles, rather as in a Baroque picture gallery. The large hall with paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder forms the centre of the suite of rooms, and the gallery ends with the two impressive series of views of Mainz and Aschaffenburg by Christian Georg Schütz the Elder and Ferdinand Kobell.