The University of Göttingen's Collection of Sculptures can be subdivided into three differing sections. The first contains marble and plaster busts depicting significant characters in the institution's history, as is typical for a university collection. Among these sculptures, the bust of legal historian Christian August Gottlieb Goede (1774–1812) completed in 1813 by Johann Gottfried Schadow (1764–1850), is of particular interest; students and colleagues of the scholar comvmissioned this work in his memory. Also noteworthy, not least for its close-to-reality but less-than-flattering depiction of the subject, is Friedrich Wilhelm Doell's (1750–1816) bust of mathematician and physicist Abraham Gotthelf Kaestner (1719–1800), sculpted in 1800.
In addition to these sculptural portraits in stone or plaster of personages representing the university's history, the collection also contains a small number of wooden sculptures from the 14th-18th centuries. These originate from a variety of regions and contexts. It is believed that the university received the first of them – depicting three sleeping boys on the Mount of Olives and crafted in 1500 – in 1902 as a bequest from Privy Councillor Professor Karl Ewald Hasse. Then, in 1907, a Swabian School Madonna with Child, which had belonged to Professor Wilhelm Dilthey, came into the Göttingen collection. On this basis, several items were purchased during the 1920s and 1930s with the support of the Universitätsbund, including the oldest sculpture in the collection, which dates back to the early 14th century. Further sculptures came to the university from the private collection of Justus Theodor Valentiner (1869–1952), who had worked in the service of the university as curator.
The third and final section of this collection consists of sculptures by well-known modern artists purchased over the course of the university's history. Among them are six preliminary designs for an 'Art in Architecture' competition that date from the 1980s, including pieces by Horst Antes (b. 1936) and Otto Herbert Hajek (1927–2005). In its entirety, the Collection of Sculptures provides an unusually comprehensive cross-section of sculptural art history from the Middle Ages until the present day.