The goal of the Department of Art and Art History is to provide instruction in and experience with the visual arts in the context of the liberal arts. The department offers two majors: studio art and the history of art.
A major in studio art is intended to make the student particularly qualified to communicate ideas in visual form. A major in the history of art is intended to prepare the student to interpret and contextualize ideas presented in visual form throughout the past.
In each course, students confront the decisions that go into making personally meaningful artwork, guided by demonstrations, slide examples, lectures and critiques. Course content and approach differ among the sections and classes, but in each the goal is to introduce students to the ideas, techniques and vocabularies of producing visual art.
Students majoring in studio art must take three courses of introductory work (ARTS 101-108), which should be completed by the end of the sophomore year if possible; four courses of intermediate work with at least three different faculty members in three different media (ARTS 210-381); two courses of advanced work (ARTS 480-481) with two different members of the studio faculty, one each semester of the senior year; and two courses of art history, which should be taken by the end of the sophomore year, if possible. Students majoring in studio art may not take a required course as Pass/D/Fail or as an Independent Study. Also, independent study courses cannot apply to the major requirements.
The Senior Exercise in studio art consists of a public exhibition in Kenyon College's Gund Gallery, a written statement, and an oral defense before each member of the studio faculty.
Detailed guidelines are available to download on the studio art department website.
Students minoring in studio art must complete two courses of introductory work (ARTS 101-108); three courses of intermediate work (ARTS 210-381); and one art history course. Through the course of their study, minors must have classes from at least three different faculty members in three different media. Students minoring in studio art may not take a required course as Pass/D/Fail or as an Independent Study. Also, independent study courses cannot apply to the minor requirements.
The discipline of art history encourages critical thought about visual culture in a liberal arts framework. Art history students draw from an interdisciplinary base, exploring a wide range of art and architecture within a broad cultural and historical context.
ARHS 110, 111, 113 and 114 are introductory courses for students who have had little or no art history. These classes may be taken in any sequence; all introduce students to the concepts, vocabulary and methods of the discipline. Most intermediate courses and seminars require ARHS 110 and/or ARHS 111 as a prerequisite.
With AP scores of 4 or 5 recorded with the Registrar's Office, students may enroll in intermediate-level courses. Only with permission of the professor may first-year students or sophomores enroll in seminars (300-400 level courses).
Students majoring in art history must take ARHS 110 and 111, six intermediate courses (ARHS 216-279) and one advanced seminar (ARHS 350-380). Senior Seminar (ARHS 480) also is required of all art history majors and is offered only during fall semester.
Alternatively, an art history major may take an introductory course in art history, along with five intermediate courses (ARHS 216-279) and one advanced seminar (ARHS 350-380).
Majors must complete at least one course (.5 unit each) at the intermediate or advanced level in each of the following art historical areas: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque and Modern/American. One seminar may be substituted for an intermediate-level course in the same area, with the permission of the department. Please note: an AP score of 4-5 allows students to place out of ARHS 110 and 111, but AP credit does not count toward the major. The degree in art history at Kenyon requires at least 5 units of coursework in the discipline. With pre-approval students studying abroad may count up to 2 units of coursework toward their major for a year-long OCS program. Art history is a global discipline, and competence in other languages is highly encouraged, as is study abroad. Art history majors also must complete 1 unit of studio art: ARTS 101-108 or a beginning-level special topics course.
For the joint major in art history and Asian studies, please see the Asian Studies webpage.
The Senior Exercise in art history is a comprehensive examination, designed to measure broad knowledge of the history of art. This exam also tests the student's ability to use that knowledge critically. A two-part exam is given on two different days (usually a Friday and the following Monday) and is scheduled in February. The first part of the exam asks students to identify key monuments in the Western tradition (ancient through modern). Several "unknown" images also are included in this section, with the intention of evaluating applied knowledge rather than memorization. The second part of the exam consists of two essays: one focuses on a broad-based knowledge of art history and its themes, and the other allows students to choose a question within a specific area of the discipline. Joint majors in art history and Asian studies take the Art History Senior Exercise, with a specific focus on Asian studies in the second essay.
The Honors Program is an opportunity for students with demonstrated ability to work on a research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Permission of the art history faculty is required.
To qualify for the Art History Honors Program, the following grade point averages are required: a minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA for all courses, and a minimum 3.5 GPA for all art history courses. Completion of a junior honors project is not a prerequisite for undertaking senior honors, but it is recommended. Previous completion of a research paper in art history (preferably in the area of honors specialization) is essential. It is required that students undertaking an honors thesis have had at least one (and preferably two) intermediate or advanced courses at Kenyon in the topic area. Endorsement of the project by the proposed thesis advisor is mandatory before submitting an application for honors.
Meeting the minimum GPA does not automatically qualify a student for the Honors Program. Typically, if a student has written an exceptionally well-researched and well-written art history paper, and meets the other criteria for acceptance into the Honors Program, a professor might suggest that the student undertake a related topic as an honors thesis. Alternately, students can discuss pursuing an honors thesis with their academic advisor and a potential thesis advisor. The project must be supervised by an art history professor whose interests and expertise coincide with the proposed project, and who must agree, and be available, to serve as the honors thesis advisor.
In either case, the student then works closely with the thesis advisor to develop a project proposal to be submitted to the art history faculty. Departmental approval must be attained during the spring semester preceding work on the thesis.
Please see the art history departmental webpage for more information.
Art history offers a departmental minor with five options, each totaling 3 units.
A broad minor gives students an overview of the field. Requirements: 1 unit at the introductory level (ARHS 110, 111, 113, 114), 1.5 units at the intermediate level (ARHS 216-279) in two or more areas, and a .5-unit advanced seminar. Minors may take ARHS 480 but are not required to do so.
Four options for a focused minor give students a deeper knowledge of one field within art history. The focused minors are as follows:
For Ancient art, requirements are ARHS 110 plus .5 unit at the introductory level, 1 unit at the intermediate level in ancient art, .5 unit of advanced work in ancient art, and .5 unit above the introductory level in another area.
For Renaissance and Baroque art, requirements include ARHS 111 plus another .5 unit at the introductory level, 1 unit at the intermediate level in Renaissance and Baroque art, and .5 unit at the advanced level in Renaissance and Baroque art, plus .5 unit above the introductory level in another area.
A focused minor in Modern/American art requires ARHS 111 plus another .5 unit at the introductory level, 1 unit at the intermediate level in modern art, and .5 unit at the advanced level in modern art, plus .5 unit above the introductory level in another area.
The following course is cross-listed in the art history offerings and can satisfy the fine arts requirement when it is taught by a member of the art history faculty:
AMST 109 American Art and Culture, 1900-1945.