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 intellectual and aesthetic components 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 contemporary artistic practice.
Students majoring in studio art must complete:
The Senior Exercise in studio art consists of a public exhibition in Kenyon College's Gund Gallery, a written statement, and an oral defense with 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:
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 Individual Study.
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 (200-level courses). Only with permission of the instructor may first-year students or sophomores enroll in seminars (300-400 level courses).
Students majoring in art history must take:
Alternatively, an art history major may take:
Majors must complete at least one course (half (.5) unit each) at the intermediate or advanced level in each of the following art historical areas:
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 or 5 allows students to place out of ARHS 110 and 111, but AP credit does not count as credit toward the major. The degree in art history at Kenyon requires at least five units of coursework in the discipline.
With pre-approval students studying abroad may count up to two (2) units of coursework toward their major for a year-long OCS program. Art history is a global discipline and competence, including reading, in foreign languages is highly encouraged, as is study abroad. For the joint major in art history and Asian and Middle East studies, please see the Asian and Middle East Studies webpage. German and/or French is recommended for those students planning to pursue graduate study in art history.
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 connoisseurship 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 are required:
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. 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 who agrees and is available, to serve as the honors thesis advisor and whose interests and expertise coincide with the proposed project. 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 obtained 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 three (3) units. A broad minor gives students an overview of the field. Requirements are as follows:
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:
Ancient art - requirements are as follows:
Renaissance and Baroque art - requirements are as follows:
Modern/American art - requirements are as follows:
Architectural history - requirements are as follows:
The following course is cross-listed in the art history department 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.