Buried in a breathless review of the recent exhibition, ‘Raphael: The Drawings’, at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, there’s a reference to something I know – recognise – but have never heard named thus. It’s a term that really nails a complicated and attractive quality one might wish one had, particularly if one was a teacher. Because it would be lovely if all teachers had this quality. In spades.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you ‘sprezzaturra’. Classicists and linguists among you may recognise the word – for all I know, it may be a regular in the more elevated crosswords. But let me repeat for you the definition offered by the critic in the particular article which caught my eye: quoting Baldassare Castiglione, credited with having invented the word, he defines ‘sprezzatura’ as “a certain nonchalance which conceals all artistry and makes whatever one says or does seem uncontrived and effortless.”