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.
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).
Posted by Lucy at 7:40 AM