Sprezzatura

Or, the art the conceals art.

This thread brought up one of my favorite words (and concepts). Sprezzatura is the concept of making something that takes talent and hard work and making it seem easy.

A classic example from films was Fred Astaire. Astaire worked very hard on all his dances, yet was able to make them seem so effortless.

Similarly, in Chaplin’s City Lights he spent literally hundreds of takes trying to create the scene where the Tramp meets the blind flower girl. The problem was how to set things up so it was logical that she’d mistake him for a rich patron. Yet the solution is so elegant and simple you’d never believe it was a problem (Chaplin crosses the street in a big a traffic jam by opening a car door, cutting across the back seat, and leaving the other door. It’s a great gag alone, and, when coming out of the final car to the curb, the flower girl thinks he’s the owner of the car).

What other cases are there where the hard work seems so effortless?

How funny–I didn’t know anyone still used this word, so when I saw the thread title I thought “wha?” It’s used in terms of Italian mannerism, mid 16th c. Baldassare Castiglione uses it in the Courtier-- a nonchalant effect of not being constructed and freedom from the dryness of strict rules, so something hard looks easy. I explain it to students as “the Tony Hawk effect”.

It does apply to atheletes. Pete Rose, for instance, is the anti-sprezzetura – he always looked like he was working damn hard.

And Joe D was the posi-sprezzatura, damn his eyes. :smiley:

I’m a Red Sox fan.

I saw the title of the thread was sprezzatura, and the first thing I thought was “Fred Astaire!”

Verdi. Mozart. Devon White.

Anti-sprezzaturists: Beethoven. Gene Kelly. Jim Edmonds.

Paganini. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Tintoretto. Frans Hals.

Any sprezzaturanical prima ballerinas still in their prime?