Curriculum and Requirements
Fine Arts Division
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.
Studio Art Introductory Courses
ARTS 101-107 are courses that provide introductory experiences in studio art by enabling students to manipulate a variety of materials and ideas. 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.
Enrollment in introductory courses usually ranges from twelve to eighteen students per section, depending on facilities. No previous art experience is necessary.
Requirements for the Studio Art Major
Students majoring in studio art must take three courses of introductory work (ARTS 101-107), 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
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.
Requirements for the Studio Art Minor
Students minoring in studio art must complete two courses of introductory work (ARTS 101-107); 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.
Transfer Credit Policy
A maximum of 1 unit of studio art courses taken off-campus may be applied to the major.
A maximum of .50 unit of studio art course taken off-campus may be applied to the minor.
Art History Introductory Courses
History of art courses help students acquire an understanding of visual culture and encourage critical thought in a liberal arts framework. Art history students draw from an interdisciplinary base, exploring a wide range of objects, images, 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 previous art history. These courses may be taken in any sequence. Each course introduces students to the concepts and methods of the discipline and prepares students for more advanced study. Most intermediate courses and seminars require ARHS 110 and/or ARHS 111 as prerequisites.
If students have AP scores of 4 or 5, they may enroll in intermediate-level courses without the survey prerequisite. Only with permission of the professor can first-year students or sophomores enroll in seminars (300-400 level courses).
Requirements for the Art History Major
Students majoring in art history must take two introductory courses (ARHS 110 and 111), six intermediate courses (ARHS 220-269), and one advanced seminar (ARHS 370-389).
Alternately, an art history major can take three introductory courses, choosing either ARHS 113 or ARHS 114 (in addition to ARHS 110 and 111), along with five intermediate courses (ARHS 220-269), and one advanced seminar (ARHS 370-389).
Senior Seminar (ARHS 480), offered the fall semester every year, is required of all majors.
Majors must complete one class (.5 units 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 faculty advisor.
One unit of studio art: ARTS 101-107 or a beginning-level topics course.
Reading competence in a foreign language is desirable. German and/or French is recommended for those students planning to pursue graduate study in art history.
The Senior Exercise in Art History
The Senior Exercise in art history is a comprehensive examination, designed to measure broad knowledge of the history of art. In addition, this exam tests the student's ability to use that knowledge critically. A two-part exam is given on different days (usually a Friday and the following Monday), and is scheduled in February. The first part asks students to identify key monuments in the Western tradition (ancient through modern). Several "unknown" images are also 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.
The Honors Program is an opportunity for students with demonstrated ability to work on an in-depth research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Permission of the art history faculty is required.
Qualifications for the Honors Program in Art History
To qualify for the Art History Honors Program, the following minimum 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 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 proposed project by the 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 before beginning work on the thesis.
Please see the art history departmental Web page for more information.
Requirements for the Art History Minor
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 220-269) in two or more areas, and a 0.5-unit advanced seminar. Students seeking a minor in art history are also encouraged to take ARHS 480.
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 0.5 unit at the introductory level, 1 unit at the intermediate level in ancient art, 0.5 unit of advanced work in ancient art, and 0.5 unit above the introductory level in another area.
For Renaissance and Baroque art, requirements include ARHS 111 plus another 0.5 unit at the introductory level, 1 unit at the intermediate level in Renaissance and Baroque, and 0.5 unit at the advanced level in Renaissance and Baroque, plus 0.5 unit above the introductory level in another area.
A focused minor in Modern/American art requires ARHS 111 plus another 0.5 unit at the introductory level, 1 unit at the intermediate level in modern art, and 0.5 unit at the advanced level in modern art, plus 0.5 unit above the introductory level in another area.
A minor in architectural history requires enrollment in ARHS 113 and one other introductory course, ARHS 279 and ARTS 102, and two of the following: ARHS 220, 221, 223, 233, or 234.
Kenyon in Rome
Art history faculty members direct an off-campus study program in which students, over the course of one semester, live and study in Rome. The program, Kenyon in Rome, is open to all qualified juniors of all majors. A member of the Kenyon faculty serves as director and teaches an intermediate-level course and an advanced seminar. The program has been designed specifically with Kenyon students in mind, and it maintains the rigorous scholarly standards required by the College.
The following course is cross-listed in the art history offerings and can satisfy the fine arts requirement:
AMST 109 American Art and Culture, 1900-1945