Wednesday, 29 July 2015

To Tintoretto, with love

Coming across your Masters dissertation.

I opened this with trepidation: I remember glancing through my undergraduate thesis paper and throwing it away in horror. This was not quite so bad, though there are stylistic weaknesses throughout.

What I remember of writing my dissertation, other than the feeling of "let it be over already", was frustration towards what I felt (at the time) was a hijacking of my subject matter. I had wanted to write about Tintoretto and curate a show of his works to demonstrate how he stands out as a complete individual in his own time. Nobody was making art like his, and dare I say nobody has done since.

This was turned down. What was this, a retrospective? A chronological re-telling? No no no, it would never do: I had to cover large periods of time, cross-over references, and please do not even try to leave out at least some element of Modernism.

Shame on me for not having the skill to argue my corner. Or maybe a single artist show would really never have worked.

However the joy in reading my thesis now is remembering how much I loved the original subject matter. Yes my citations could have been better, and I could have elaborated various points to strengthen my argument, but boy did I love those paintings. Boy do I.

Not a huge fan of the softness of Titian, and amused but not awed by the rendering of El Greco or Parmigianino, I still have great love for the classical robustness of the high renaissance, and Tintoretto alone brings the best of all in to one.

What is also clear, in reading my thesis, is how little I enjoyed the modernist references. Those sections are almost all citations and quotes and weakly elaborated. Clearly Stoicism failed me in those times.

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