Study the history of Scottish art online with our expert team.

On this flexible, 100% online course, explore Scotland’s fascinating visual history across the 18th and 19th centuries. Examine the changing ways in which artists represented Scotland’s identity in this period. Discover:

  • what makes art Scottish
  • how Scottish art evolves
  • the various visions it offers of the country.

Drawing on in-depth case studies, you’ll develop your skills in analysis and synthesis. You’ll learn to critically examine works of art, and discuss them within the broader contexts of contemporary literature, politics and social history.

You can use the credits you earn on this course towards our unique online Masters in Scottish Heritage.

Who is this course for?

This course is for anyone, anywhere in the world, with a personal or professional interest in Scottish art.

It’s also particularly relevant to employees of heritage bodies, like The National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland, as well as to librarians, archivists and volunteers in organisations with an interest in the visual history of Scotland.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards this MLitt qualification.

What you’ll study

You’ll focus mainly on Scottish painting across the 150-year period following the 1707 Union. You’ll examine the construction and representation of Scottish identity within the broader political entity of the United Kingdom.

You’ll look at changing patterns of patronage, links with England and Continental Europe, and the effects of the Union on Scottish painting. Alongside painting, you’ll consider architecture, prints, and drawings too.

You’ll cover topics including:

  • Allan Ramsay and portrait painting
  • Gavin Hamilton and Neoclassicism
  • the Runciman brothers and Romanticism
  • David Allan and genre
  • Alexander Nasmyth and landscape painting
  • Henry Raeburn and the Enlightenment
  • David Wilkie and narrative
  • history and religious painting
  • romantic Highland identities.
The 19th-century painting Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute by Horatio McCulloch (1805-1867)

Unique archive access

You’ll have online access to our unique Special Collections.

These rich and fascinating archives feature works including the atmospheric painting we’ve chosen as this course’s image, Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute by Horatio McCulloch (1805-1867).

Find out more about our Special Collections

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

  • Explain the important elements of Scottish visual history.
  • Describe and apply different historiographical approaches to a range of source material.
  • Critically analyse visual and written sources.

Why study Scottish History of Art online with the University of Aberdeen?

How you’ll study

Online learning

Our distance learning Scottish Visual History course is delivered flexibly, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • videos and audio clips
  • quizzes
  • slide shows
  • reading materials
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with colleagues and tutors.

Your tutors

Your course coordinator is Dr Helen Pierce, lecturer in History of Art and a specialist in British art of the 17th and 18th centuries. Further experts in History of Art, History and Literature contribute to your weekly course materials.

Your course coordinator

Where this will take you

Build your learning

You’ll earn 30 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. It’s one of several Scottish Heritage short courses that we offer online:

Towards a Masters degree

You can use the 30 Masters-level credits you’ll earn with this course towards our:

Entry requirements

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least

  • a 2:2 (second-class) degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 January 2023
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