Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A knowledge or love of or taste for fine objects of art.
  • noun Objects of art, especially fine antique objets d'art, considered as a group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A word used chiefly in the phrase article of virtu, an object interesting for its precious material, fine or curious workmanship, antiquity, rarity, or the like, such as gems, medals,enamels,etc.: usually an object of some quality of art which appeals to fancy or to a curious taste.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A love of the fine arts; a taste for curiosities.
  • noun an object of art or antiquity; a curiosity, such as those found in museums or private collections.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun art Knowledge of the fine arts
  • noun art objets d'art collectively

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun artistic quality
  • noun objet d'art collectively (especially fine antiques)
  • noun love of or taste for fine objects of art

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Italian virtù, virtue, virtu, from Latin virtūs, excellence, virtue; see virtue.]

Examples

  • Italians of that age called virtu, that is, personal courage, force, and elegance.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 2: Assizes-Browne

  • The two variables were what Machiavelli called virtu and fortuna.

    Virtu and Fortuna - SpouseBUZZ

  • The two variables were what Machiavelli called virtu and fortuna.

    May 2008 - SpouseBUZZ

  • In all these provinces, therefore, after the Romans fell, the Sects possessed, and yet possess in part, that virtu which is desired and lauded with true praise.

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  • So that if there had been any kind of virtu in Venice and in their institutions, they could easily have reorganized and shown a new face to their fortune, and would have been in time either to have won or lost more gloriously, or to have obtained a more honorable accord.

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  • Those who may want to imitate these men can be exposed to those vices of contempt and hatred, which as I have said above of Scipio and Hannibal, can be avoided by an excessive virtu which is in you, and not otherwise.

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  • MY DEAR FRIEND: I apply to you now, as to the greatest virtuoso of this, or perhaps any other age; one whose superior judgment and distinguishing eye hindered the King of Poland from buying a bad picture at Venice, and whose decisions in the realms of 'virtu' are final, and without appeal.

    Complete Project Gutenberg Earl of Chesterfield Works

  • However, let his Holiness's taste of 'virtu' be ever so bad, pray get somebody to present you to him before you leave

    Complete Project Gutenberg Earl of Chesterfield Works

  • MY DEAR FRIEND: I apply to you now, as to the greatest virtuoso of this, or perhaps any other age; one whose superior judgment and distinguishing eye hindered the King of Poland from buying a bad picture at Venice, and whose decisions in the realms of 'virtu' are final, and without appeal.

    Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1751

  • However, let his Holiness's taste of 'virtu' be ever so bad, pray get somebody to present you to him before you leave

    Letters to His Son on the Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman, 1750

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