The National Gallery was created in 1957 with the aim to have a separate museum dedicated to the history of visual arts in Hungary. Originally it located opposite to the Hungarian Parliament, where the Ethnography Museum of Budapest stands today. It moved to Buda Castle in 1978.

Exhibitions in the National Gallery feature the history and development of Hungarian painting. The permanent collection also represents the past five hundred years of art in Hungary, including Medieval and Renaissance stoneworks, Gothic wood sculptures and altarpieces. The collections cover Hungarian art in all genres, including the works of many nineteenth- and twentieth-century Hungarian artists who worked in Paris and other locations in the West.