Thursday, February 12, 2009

Masked for the Occasion.....(Part 2 of Carnival in Venice)




Masks were, and still are very much the main attraction of the Carnival tradition in Venice. Historically, masks allowed people to have some anonymity where privacy was almost impossible in a city as crowded and populated as Venice. Regardless of social status, the mask put everyone on an equal footing. Of course, as mentioned in my previous post, the wearing of masks also led to much decadence and promiscuity since people never revealed who they really were.


One of the most traditional Venetian masks and costumes is the “Bauta”.
This costume consisted of a white mask that covered the whole face, a hat and long black cloak. This one was very popular for both men and women because it masked the person completely. They could even eat and drink without removing the mask.

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The "Mattacino" is a clown costume with slingshot and front pouch for carrying eggs. People would shoot eggs from the slingshot to people on the street. (This custom was later abolished-for obvious reasons!)




The third very popular costume and mask was the "Moretta". This was a black velvet mask that women usually wore. Just imagine the practicality on this one…the mask was attached to the face by holding it in place by a button secured between the top teeth!


Masks were produced for centuries in Venice from papier-maché that they then painted and crafted with fabric, gems or feathers. Today they are mostly made with gesso and are still all hand-painted and crafted with even more brilliance and elaborate designs.

Enjoy the masks of today, worn at the Carnival of Venice. Some of these are spectacular!
















(Masks and costumes became even more popular with Goldoni’s theatre in the 16th century with popular comedic ‘personnages’ in his plays. More on this at a later date).

10 comments:

Ms. Lucy said...

For some strange reason Blogger is getting rid of some of the pictures I've posted...go figure...??

TammiMagee said...

A fantastic post-I really enjoyed reading it!

Ms. Lucy said...

Hi TammiMagee, I'm glad you enjoyed it- such a colorful time in history:)

Bearded Lady said...

I love masks! I brought back all these weird masks when I went to venice. Someday...maybe someone will invited me to a masked ball and I can wear one.

Ms. Lucy said...

I collect masks and the ones from Venice are always the most detailed and original, I find. You never know when you may get invited...or just plan your own masquerade party!

Matterhorn said...

Thanks for this post, Lucy! Very interesting.

Ms. Lucy said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Ms. Lucy said...

The trip to Venice sounds like a terrific idea. I'm not sure about the next dinner party though;)

vicki archer said...

Hello Lucy - thanks for making contact and I am so happy to have found your blog. I love your Venetian posts and reading about Carnivale after my trip. xv

Ms. Lucy said...

Thanks for visiting Vicki! Your Venetian posts brought me to dreamland. Thanks so much.