In contrast to the above listed large galleries, the private collection of the wealthy Hungarian noble family Esterházy provides the basis for the fine art collection at the Museum of Fine Arts and not imperial or royal estates. The paintings, drawings and engravings in this collection were purchased by the Hungarian state in 1870. The exhibition material has been significantly expanded since and is now considered the largest collection in Central Europe. The exhibited artists include Leonardo, Raffaello, Titian, Dürer, El Greco, Velázquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Tiepolo, Goya, Manet, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir and Cézanne.
In the initial years, the Academy housed the collection but it soon became too small. The current building was inaugurated in 1906 by Franz Joseph himself, Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, within the framework of the large millennial investments. One hundred years had to pass for the first major expansion and conversion. Reconstruction was completed in 2018 so the modernized museum is now again open to visitors.