Doctoral Thesis



Tintoretto’s Difference. Deleuze, Diagrammatics and the Problem of Art History.



This thesis is a study of the works of the 16th century painter Jacopo Tintoretto using Deleuze’s concept of the diagram. Specifically, it uses Deleuze’s diagrammatics to think the problem of Tintoretto’s difference. This is staged on two registers: firstly, an activation of the concept of the diagram for an analysis of Tintoretto’s works and their innovations (understood as those aspects of his practice that were imperceptible to his own time and which exceed the intelligibility produced through the reconstruction of historical circumstance); secondly, an expanded explication of Deleuze’s concept of the diagram, through a reconstruction of its place and function in Deleuze’s philosophy and a projection of its conceptual potentials beyond Deleuze’s explicit pronouncements. The former incorporates, via a mapping of Tintoretto’s reception in his time and by art history, a critique of the empiricist and historicist tendencies in art history’s treatment of the artist, and ultimately, of what I call its “scholarly” form of thought. This critique is deepened through the presentation of the Deleuzian alternative, which I approach through a reconstruction of the diagrammatic function in Deleuze’s constructivist ontology, with a particular focus on the relation between Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism and his ontology of the work of art, via an elucidation of his reading of Kant’s 3rd Critique. With reference to Deleuze’s three synthesis of time I propose a notion of diagrammatic temporality that is used to think the time of Tintoretto’s difference as transhistorical return in experience. This includes, through an exploration of selected cases of Tintoretto’s return, the activation of the idea of an untimely modernity that the Deleuzian philosophy supports.