Monthly Archives: July 2010
The Carnival of Venice is an annual festival that repetitively keeps on organizing in Venice, Italy every two weeks before the Ash Wednesday and commences on Shrove Tuesday, a day previously to Ash Wednesday. Carnival, there started at a time of celebration as a mean to hide identity between social classes. However, this centuries old culture and tradition of masks was revived by the Italian government in 1970 to revive the history and culture of Venice. Presently around occurrence of carnival, there 30,000 visitors come to Venice each and every day for Carnivals.
• Venetian Carnival Masks: However, Masks there are considered as central stage and figure for the Venetian carnival. Generally, people were there allowed to have them for festival of Santo Stefano and the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. Generally masks are there too allowed to being covered on face during Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas. People there could spend out a large proportion of the year in disguise. Maskmakers (mascherari) in Italy has special place in society as they have their own laws and regulation and own guild. Venetian masks are made in leather as well as with the help of the original papier-mache technique. The original masks were rather simple in design and often had a symbolic and practical function. Presently, these all are made with application of gesso and gold leaf and all other hand painted natural feathers and gems to be decorated.
• The Mask-Makers: The mascherari or mask-makers as they are known in history are gone farthest back in history to 14th century. They were happened to be fringe of painters who were assisted in their work by sign painters who uses to draw faces onto plaster in a range of different shapes giving extreme caution to attention and detail. However, history of Mask Makers more relates it to protecting the identity of its wearer during immoral activities. These masks were made in Venice, for centuries and were formed from papier-mache and then were used to be decorated from papier-mache, fur, fabric, gems and ribbons.
The evolution of these masks goes back to Venetian period where there existed a period and climate of cultural and religious repression during the medieval ages in Italy People wore those masks as to liberate them from judging and curious neighbors where they were all had to get recognized and got into touch with each other. The gentry classes and peasants alike sought anonymity for promiscuity, gambling, and other indiscretions. Even the clergy were known to dress up to go dancing.
After the 1100s, the masquerade went through periods of being outlawed by the Catholic Church, and they were strictly prohibited during holy days. However Church allowed wearing the masks during the months between Christmas and Shrove Tuesday free for Venetian mask-attired decadence. And this freedom to wear masks developed into the celebration of Carnival.
• Modern Celebration of Masks: However, at the modern time the art of making masks has developed into the formation of art and craft of creating Venetian masks. This traditional method has gone into sculpting a form out of clay as a base for the mask. Masks are mostly have been made from papier-mâché that is a sticky paste made of strips and glue. This plaster material is thus on is layered over the base, there is dried and then gets removed to create out the basic mask. However the beauty of the masks remains in the fact that there craftsperson paints designs in gold, silver, royal purple, sunny yellow, and other bright colors. Other decorations includes the sequins, silk ribbons, exotic ird feathers, faux fur, rhinestones, leather, gold charms, glitter, and any other outlandish trinkets. The Carnival Masks on the basis of designs and pattern used in them are found in three categories.
• Bauta: Under this mask the entire face remains covered with a stubborn chin line, no mouth, and lots of gilding”. One can even get these masks sold as Bautas that entirely covers the upper portion of the face ranging from the forehead to the nose and upper cheeks, thereby concealing identity but enabling the wearer to talk and eat or drink easily. This is a primary type of mask that is worn at and during Carnival. It is also used as on other occasions as a device for concealing a wearer’s identity and social status.
• Moretta: It is an oval shaped mask of black velvet that is generally is worn by women visiting convents. It was invented in France and soon became popular in Venice as it brings out the beauty of feminine features.
• Volto or Larva: The “Volto” was the more common mask used in Venice for centuries. Volto means “face” to design that is was the most common, simplest mask.