Art through the ages: sculpting the human figure

Key facts

  • Cost: £90
  • Credits: 5


This online course focuses on the diverse ways in which the human figure has been represented in sculpture across time in different cultural contexts. Each week, we will explore key examples of the sculptural tradition of a different time period, starting with ancient Egypt and finishing with the 20th century. This sweep through time and cultural space will allow us to explore the evolving relationship between form and function, and all the diverse ways the human body has been manipulated to fit particular agendas. Case studies will range from the Egypto-Roman statues of Antinous, to Michelangelo’s David, and Epstein’s The Rock Drill. Students will have the opportunity to participate in weekly webinars.  

NB: This course is delivered asynchronously ie the course materials are provided on Moodle (our online learning platform) to allow self-paced learning, with no live online sessions. 

Areas you'll explore include: 

  • The evolution of the human form in sculpture within different cultural contexts across time. 
  • The agendas underlying the use of particular styles of sculpting the human body were.  
  • Explore the features that define the representation of the human body in three dimensions. 

 By the end of the course, you’ll be able to: 

  • Discuss and define the relationship between form and function within specific cultural and temporal contexts. 
  • Contrast methods of depiction and their associated symbolism across time and space. 
  • Culturally contextualise the significance of key case studies synchronically and diachronically. 

Suggested follow on course  

Great artists: the 20th century ADED11798 

Who is this course for?

Anyone who has an interest in art history and in particular figurative sculpture.   


5 Credits at SCQF level 7 (level 1 at undergraduate study)  

Can contribute towards a CertHE in art history.  

Mode of study

Pre-recorded lectures as well as lecture notes, PowerPoints and reading materials will be revelled weekly on the virtual learning environment Moodle. A discussion board will also be available for discussion and communication and contact details of the course leader will be available for communication.  


Can contribute towards a CertHE in the history of art. 

Find out more

The University holds open days throughout the year where you can meet with staff to discuss our short course provision. Find out more about University of Glasgow open days