sprezzatura

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Italian sprezzatura (nonchalance), which was coined in 1528 by Baldassare Castiglione; the term gained currency in English in the mid-20th century, often to describe art.

Noun[edit]

sprezzatura (plural sprezzaturas)

  1. (art) The art of performing a difficult task so gracefully, that it looks effortless.
    • 1959, Baldassare Castiglione, Charles S. Singleton (translator), The Book of the Courtier [1528, Il Cortegiano], Chapter 26 2¶,
      have found quite a universal rule which in this matter seems to me valid above all others, and in all human affairs whether in word or deed: and that is to avoid affectation in every way possible as though it were some very rough and dangerous reef; and (to pronounce a new word perhaps) to practice in all things a certain Sprezzatura [nonchalance], so as to conceal all art and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.