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A Touch More RareHarry Berger, Jr., and the Arts of Interpretation$
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Nina Levine and David Lee Miller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230303

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823230303.001.0001

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Harry Berger's Sprezzatura and the Poses of Cicero's De Oratore

Harry Berger's Sprezzatura and the Poses of Cicero's De Oratore

(p.182) Chapter 13 Harry Berger's Sprezzatura and the Poses of Cicero's De Oratore
A Touch More Rare

Nina Levine

David Lee Miller

Fordham University Press

In reading Fictions of the Pose, what stood out starkly and unexpectedly was Harry's linkage of the perceptible attitudes of Renaissance and specifically Italian portrait subjects with the sprezzatura of Baldassare Castiglione's Il libro del cortegiano, the perceived assurance of the cinquecento aristocrat whose particular affiliation with time and place Castiglione emphasizes when he highlights sprezzatura's introduction as una nuova parola. Castiglione's own unambiguous admission is such unlearned grace belongs only to those upon whom it has descended from the stars. The diversion of attention from statuary posing to cultural posing led the author to Harry's pendant book, Absence of Grace. In an analogous manner, it is difficult to generalize Roman ideas concerning the interrelation of visual representation and inwardness or interiority, since the very notion of physiognomic legibility shifts and dodges with currents of political change.

Keywords:   Renaissance portrait, sprezzatura, Baldassare Castiglione, posing, visual representation, political change

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