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Sprezzatura

My word of the day is sprezzatura, an Italian term denoting a graceful mastery. For example, a musician might run their hands up and down the neck of a guitar with music dripping out or a painter might splash a few colours onto their canvas and produce a masterpiece. It all looks so easy until you try to emulate the performance and realise that what you saw was a finely honed accomplishment and not the mere work of the moment that it seemed.

I got the term from a fascinating book I’m reading about a woodcarver appreciating the work of Grinling Gibbons (Esterly D. The Lost Carving: a journey to the heart of making. Duckworth Overlook, London (2013)) and can see how it is a fine height to aspire to.

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