Word of the Day

Thursday, June 17, 1999

virtu

\vuhr-TOO; vir-\ , noun;
1.
love of or taste for fine objects of art.
2.
Productions of art (especially fine antiques).
3.
Artistic quality.
Quotes:
The Italian humanist Giovanni Pontano described these objects as "statues, pictures, tapestries, divans, chairs of ivory, cloth interwoven with gems, many-coloured boxes and coffers in the Arabian style, crystal vases and other things of this kind . . . [whose] sight . . . is pleasing and brings prestige to the owner of the house." They all spoke to the wealth, taste and virtu of their owner.
-- John Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination
Divans, Persian rugs, easy chairs, books, statuary, articles of virtu and bric-a-brac are on every side, and the whole has the appearance of a place where one could dream his life away.
-- "Mark Twain's Summer Home", The New York Times, September 10, 1882
Origin:
Virtu comes from Italian virtù "virtue, excellence," from Latin virtus, "excellence, worth, goodness, virtue."
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