Requirements: Art and Art History

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.

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Studio Art

Introductory Courses

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 courses, but in each the goal is to introduce students to the ideas, techniques and vocabularies of contemporary artistic practice.

Requirements for the Studio Art Major

Students majoring in studio art must complete:

  • 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 (ARTS 200–391)
  • Two courses of advanced work (ARTS 480–481) with two different members of the studio faculty, one each semester of the senior year
  • 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 Individual Study.

The Senior Capstone in Studio Art

The Senior Capstone in studio art consists of a public exhibition of a cohesive body of work in Kenyon College's Gund Gallery, a written artist's statement, and an oral defense and presentation with each member of the studio faculty. Detailed guidelines are available to download on the studio art department website.

Requirements for the Studio Art Minor

Students minoring in studio art must complete:

  • One (1) unit of introductory work (ARTS 101–108)
  • One and a half (1.5) units of intermediate work (ARTS 210–381)
  • Half (0.5) unit of art history 

Students minoring in studio art may not take a required course as Pass/D/Fail or as an Individual Study.

Transfer and Off-Campus Study Credit Policy

A maximum of two studio art courses taken off-campus may be applied to the major.

Art History

Courses

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. 100-level introductory courses are designed for students who have had little or no art history. These courses 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; therefore students pursuing the major or minor in ARHS are encouraged to take ARHS 110 and ARHS 111. 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).

Requirements for the Art History Major

Students majoring in art history must take:

  • ARHS 110 and 111
  • Six ARHS intermediate courses at the 200 level
  • One advanced ARHS seminar at the 300 level
  • Two ARTS courses
  • Senior Seminar (ARHS 480)  which is offered only during fall semester

Alternatively, an art history major may take:

  • Three ARHS introductory courses at the 100 level
  • Five ARHS intermediate courses at the 200 level
  • One ARHS advanced seminar at the 300 level
  • Two ARTS art courses
  • Senior Seminar (ARHS 480) which is offered only during fall semester

Other substitutions:

  • One seminar may be substituted for an intermediate-level course in the same area, with the permission of the department.
  • The course requirement in the Ancient area may be fulfilled with one of the following courses: CLAS 121, 122, 220 or 221

Majors must complete at least one course at the intermediate or advanced level in each of the following art historical areas:

  • Ancient
  • Medieval
  • Renaissance/Baroque
  • Modern/Contemporary

One seminar may be substituted for an intermediate-level course in the same area, with the permission of the department. The one course requirement in the Ancient area may be fulfilled with one of the following courses: CLAS 121, 122, 220 or 221.

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. 

Art History Cross Listed Courses

The following course is cross listed in the art history department and can satisfy the 200-level intermediate modern/contemporary requirement when taught by a member of the art history faculty: AMST 209: American Visual Culture.

Transfer Credit Policy

Students who want to transfer credit to count towards the major or in minor in the Art History department must petition the department with a copy of the syllabus of the course. The department will decide on a case-by-case basis whether transfer credit will be counted towards the major or minor.

Off-Campus Credit Policy

With pre-approval students studying abroad may count up to three courses of coursework for each semester of the 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 web page. 

The Senior Capstone in Art History

The senior capstone in art history consists of three parts. Part 1 is a slide identification exam that assesses students’ comprehensive knowledge of historically important works of art and architecture. This exam is administered each year on a Friday in late February. Part 2 is a thematic essay exam that assesses the students’ broad knowledge of art history in the western tradition. Students receive the writing prompt following the completion of Part 1, prepare their essay over the weekend, and compose their responses on the following Monday during a closed-note session. Part 3 assesses the student’s knowledge of their specific art-historical area of expertise. It consists of a revised and expanded version of the Senior Seminar paper that is submitted at the end of the fall semester. Students are expected to respond to the feedback that they receive from faculty in December, and re-submit a revised and expanded version of the paper on the Friday before Spring Break. They are also required to attach a cover letter that explains the ways in which faculty feedback has been addressed in the final paper. Each part of the capstone will be graded by faculty consensus with the designation ‘distinction,’ ‘pass,’ or ‘fail.’ For a student to receive the honor of distinction, the faculty must unanimously agree that distinction has been earned  on all three parts of the capstone Students who do not pass Part 1 or Part 2 will be required to re-take alternate versions of these parts until they pass those sections.  Students who do not pass Part 3 will be required to revise their paper under the close supervision of a faculty member until they pass.

Honors

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:

  • A minimum 3.33 cumulative GPA for all courses
  • A minimum 3.5 GPA for all art history courses
  • 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.

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.

Requirements for the Art History Minor

Art history offers a departmental minor with four options, each totaling six courses.

The Broad minor gives students an overview of the field. Requirements are as follows:

  • Two courses at the introductory 100 level
  • Three courses at the intermediate 200 level  in two or more areas. One course may be fulfilled with one of the following courses: CLAS 121, 122, 220 or 221.
  • Advanced seminar at the 300 level

Minors may take ARHS 480 but are not required to do so. Three options for a focused minor give students a deeper knowledge of one field within art history. These are:

Ancient art — requirements are as follows:

  • ARHS 110 plus one other course at the introductory 100 level
  • Two courses at the intermediate 200 level in ancient art. One course may be fulfilled with one of the following courses: CLAS 121, 122, 220 or 221.
  • One course of advanced work in ancient art at the 300 level
  • One course above the introductory 100 level in another area

Renaissance and Baroque art — requirements are as follows:

  • ARHS 111 plus another course at the introductory 100 level
  • Two courses at the intermediate 200 level in Renaissance and Baroque art
  • One course at the advanced 300 level in Renaissance and Baroque art
  • One course above the introductory 100 level in another area

Modern/Contemporary art — requirements are as follows:

  • ARHS 111 plus another course at the introductory 100 level
  • Two courses at the intermediate 200 level in modern art
  • One course at the advanced 300 level in modern art
  • One course above the introductory 100 level in another area