The prototype, signed and dated 1519, on panel, 73 x 62 cm, is in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (see F. Winkler, Drer - des Meisters Gemlde Kupferstiche und Holzschnitte, 1904, p.68, ill).
Son of Emperor Frederick III, the sitter married Mary of Burgundy in 1477. He succeeded his father to the throne in 1493 and married his second wife, Bianca Maria Sforza, daughter of the Duke of Milan, in 1494. Maximilian was famous for his striving for unity in the German Empire: he founded a State Court (Reichskammergericht) in 1495 and a State Council (Reichshofrat) in 1497. He was also famous for his love of the arts.