Thomas Depasquale

Thomas Depasquale
Graduate Student

Specialization

Area of Concentration: Italian Renaissance
Faculty Advisor: Robert Williams
Committee Members: Mark A. Meadow, Jon R. Snyder (French and Italian, UCSB)
Dissertation: "Leonardo and the Commentators: Seeing Things Hidden in the Earliest Essays on the Work of Art, Italy, circa 1560-1590"
M.A. Thesis: "On the Indeterminacy of Gestures in Paintings of the Annunciation" (Syracuse University, completed 2009)

Bio

After college, I earned a Master's degree in Early Modern European history at SUNY Albany, then spent several years teaching English in Taiwan and studying Italian in Italy. In 2009 I finished a Master's in art history at Syracuse University in Florence. My thesis, "On the Indeterminacy of Gestures in Paintings of the Annunciation", was my introduction to a Renaissance moral and aesthetic conundrum—the conflicting desire for religious images to be expressions of peculiar genius, and yet something all viewers are equally able to understand and be enriched by.

My doctoral dissertation, "Leonardo and the Commentators: Seeing Things Hidden in the Earliest Essays on the Work of Art, Italy, circa 1560-1590" is about the emergence of fallibility—the idea that one might fail to “get” what there is to be had from a work of art—as a problem, but also a new thrill, in the history of visual culture. The star of the story is a little-known botanist from Naples who wove a veiled attack on the Counter-Reformation Church into an essay on an altarpiece by Titian, and who turns out to be one of the most willfully clever and slyly subversive commentators in the history of art literature.

I have been contributing since 2013 to the development of a large exhibition, to open at the Getty Museum in 2018, on the theme of nudity and morality in Renaissance art. I also have the pleasure of teaching courses in art history at California Polytechnic in San Luis Obispo.