The painting collection of the Art Museum of Estonia is based on several private collections, purchases by the government and numerous donations. A survey of the best of the painting collection from the 18th century onwards is provided by the museum's permanent exhibition in the Kumu building.
The painting collection contains over 6,000 works of art, including well-known masterpieces from renowned artists, such as Johann Köler, a pioneer of Estonian painting, Ants Laikmaa, and the twin brothers Kristjan and Paul Raud, founders of Estonian art. The majority of the collection is comprised of 20th century Estonian art, greatly influenced by the world art trends of the time – from National Romanticism at the beginning of the century up to Post-Modernism at the end of the period.
Besides Estonian national art, the painting collection also contains world-famous works of ecclesiastical art, connected with such names as Bernt Notke and Andriaen Isenbrandt, which are on display at the Niguliste Museum.