Elegance and the art of nuance

Elegance and the art of nuance


Let us continue our summer semantic meanderings through the wonderful world of words used to shape, express, fashion and attempt at rendering the impressions, emotions and other feelings linked to our lives as passionate aesthetes. Tonight, we shall tackle (to say the least) what I personally consider as one of the linchpins of our lexical canons, the word Nuance.

Nuance derives from Vulgar Latin Nuba, meaning cloud (Nubes in Classical Latin), through the verbal form Nuer, used to refer to the shaded washes of colours characteristic of the subtle tones of clouds at different times of the day and under different levels of sunlight.

Stage director Michel de Maulne made a brilliant attempt at defining the concept as the level of increase or decrease in the intensity of a hue. A little bit more, or a little bit less…

Nuance characterises the search for just the right tone and harmony of colours.

Nuance is the tenuous gap between two delights. It is the right word to infer without naming the vulgar. It marks the line not to trespass lest desire infringes deference…

Dyers, wig makers, tailors, boot makers, painters, upholsterers are all nuance and colour experts. Let us not forget the masters of the supreme nuance of the words, able to reveal in the charts of pages the hidden tone concealed in the rainbow of time.

Cheers, HUGO

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