These molds at “Kartaruga” are only a few of the 3,000 or so that Franco Gabriele Cecamore, the founder, has made since the shop opened in 1980. What better place to indulge in make-believe than in the most make-believe city there is? “At the beginning everything went well,” he remembers. This toddler obviously isn’t a gondolier – they never throw confetti. Why Venetian Masks … This is the mask of Pantalone, the linchpin character of the Commedia dell’Arte whom Carlo often played. On the far right, masks drawn from two of Picasso’s best-known works: the “Minotaur,” made of newspaper-mache’, and the shrieking horse from “Guernica.”, To learn more, or to find out where to find these shops and others where you can make your own masks, click here for "The World of Masks". By 1773 there were 12 shops making masks in Venice. “So I show them the bauta. If the humidity is low and the temperature comfortably high, a mask can crackle its way to antiquity in only 30 minutes. And so – this being Venice, whose motto might well be “You want it? Thus a positive object (the sculpture) is used to create a negative object (the plaster mold) that is used to make a positive object (the mask). “Craquele’,” or crackling, is the delicate network of fissures that sometimes appears in the varnish or glaze on oil paintings or ceramics as they age. I didn’t even know there was an Alexei Tolstoy. He took the same chance several years ago, with a helmet-style mask with a huge yellow snail, which sells $700. But suddenly Carnival was no more. Genuine hand-made Venetian masks made by the mask-makers or mascherari are steeped in history & can be made in leather or with the original papier-mâché* technique. All donations are tax-deductible. I feel I’m making something more valuable.”, He looked at me sternly. On the left, two classic masks turned cyborg, thanks to bits of technological detritus (USB thumb drive, batteries, cords, and so on). However, that typical tourist spends an average of only 12 euros ($12.79) per day on souvenirs. Some complete a piece by covering it with wax, gloss, or polish to impart a shiny finish, but these trade secrets vary from workshop to workshop. In the northern cities, such as Venice, the characters often come from theatrical characters, specifically those of the Commedia dell’Arte, the highly-stylized 15th-century improvised comedy (think Punch and Judy shows). True Carnival anarchy was born in the depths of cosmic fear: To drive away the dark spirits of winter, open the way for the rebirth of spring, and return the universe once again to its appointed order. While the simplest hand-made mask might cost $10, there are plastic masks made outside Europe (China is the usual suspect) that are sold for one euro ($1.06). This information comes from some 15 years of research on Venetian artisans. Radio Vanessa, the local station, had joined forces with the Scuola Grande di San Marco to revive the grand old party. I am the author of the award-winning novel, THE GONDOLA MAKER, and the LAURA MORELLI'S AUTHENTIC ARTS travel guide series. – is enough. He corrected a Russian visitor the other day on the family connection between Leo and Alexei Tolstoy. Venice being a city in which secrets bloom by night and are harvested at dawn, anonymity was something everyone craved, especially during Carnival when the jinks became very high indeed. This Zanni mask, which Mario made in papier-mache’, reproduces the facial ridges that would occur with leather. His masks are for sale, but at heart he isn’t a merchant. The mask was finished off with a veil. It Is Perfect For Everyday Use. As you might be able to tell from all these details, the actor’s face is the least expressive element of the performance. Then, on February 27, 1979 – 182 years to the day after Carnival was banned – music was heard in the Piazza San Marco. “I work more willingly for the theatre, even if I make less money,” he says, “because it’s not routine.”. Italian Venetian Ceramic Carnival Mask Wall Displa . Some, like Ca’ Macana and Kartaruga, offer mask-painting sessions. Some just stay home, like people do when blizzards strike. Venetian Masks are worn during the Carnival of Venice in Italy, which celebrates the start of Spring with street parades and parties. More laws, decrees, and edicts followed over the centuries. With masks. A T-shirt reading “Pest Control,” or your great-aunt’s ancestral shillelagh? The quintessential Venetian costume, known since at least the 15th century, is the bauta (bah-OO-ta) – not just a mask, but an entire ensemble worn by men and women alike. “Fat Tuesday” came and went every year, but no one celebrated. The process is simple: A coat of organic varnish is spread over the smooth surface of the plain mask, and as the varnish dries it tightens and random cracks begin to appear. For the past 35 years Carlo Setti has been designing, making, and selling masks in one small room on a narrow but very busy street, the “Frezzeria,” only a few minutes from the Piazza San Marco. The character of the Zanni developed in various ways, but he remained the epitome of a country bumpkin living by his wits. women?) Anyone is fair game, but matrons in fur coats are a prize target because they get so angry, which is so funny. They always draw comments from visitors. “Carnival is something you do, not something you look at.” If you’re a tourist, you take pictures for fun. Italian Venetian Ceramic Carnival Mask Wall blue bronze gold & black venetian masquerade carnival party … “Last spring a writer brought in her favorite stuffed toy, a little cat, and she bought a rabbit mask for it. Made for centuries in Venice, these distinctive masks were formed from paper-mache and wildly decorated with fur, fabric, gems, or feathers. Venetian masks, though, are hardly connected with hunting or healing; their mission in life is mirth and frivolity, with the occasional touch of seduction and glamour. “Leather is more noble. Moretta is a traditional Venetian mask. On February 28, 1797, Venetians celebrated what turned out to be their last Mardi Gras. I am fortunate to own two hand-painted papier-mache` masked that we purchased 30 years ago in Venice. Leather adapts to the face and lasts for years, and considering the inverse relation between the cost of a mask and the typical income of your average actor, that’s no small consideration. Italian law permits an article to be labeled “handmade” if some percentage of the product has been made by somebody’s hands, somewhere. In the Carnival of the old days, during the last week of festivities the streets and squares of the entire city were full of people in every sort of costume, milling around amid puppets, jugglers, acrobats, tumblers, fortune tellers, musicians, and all manner of animals, from dogs and monkeys to horses and bears – one time even a rhinoceros – while roaming vendors sold fruit, spices, and exotic food. Today, the last Sunday of Carnival – the peakest of the peak days – can draw as many visitors to Venice as once lived here: roughly 150,000. I love Venice masks their so beautiful, I’m from the UK too. But masks are not all dark and scary. “To copy a mask, you do it quickly,” she said. Or to put on a disguise or frivolous outfit of some sort, to parade, to frolic, to take pictures of parading and frolicking? Straw Bale Construction: The Ultra-Ecological House. But you’d have trouble selling a postcard of that. Legal | © 2021 The Craftsmanship Initiative. Love this post! First a clay sculpture is modeled by hand, then it’s covered with plaster of Paris, which hardens and is removed to serve as the form, or mold, for the mask. Little boys are keenest on animals, and they always prefer the predators – dinosaurs, tigers, wolves. He didn’t wait for reviews of his latest comedy to come out in the paper. He thought it was hilarious when he heard his friends saying terrible things. Below you will find a complete explanation that illustrates step-by-step how to create Venetian masks. In its virgin state it is a featureless carapace, its slightly eerie impassivity recalling Pierrot, the forlorn French relative (so sad, so Northern European) of Pulcinella (so unruly, so Mediterranean). Some rapidly produce piles of undecorated masks for merchants who want to paint (and then sell) them. But as Carnival blossomed so did the craft, which was officially recognized with a statute of its own, on April 10, 1436, establishing the mask-makers’ guild. The Venetian masks play a vital role in the tourism industry as about 3 million people visited Venice in the year of Carnival. “They just stand there and let themselves be admired,” as one exasperated man declared. You can employ the glass technique and decorate the masks with ribbons, porcelain or even leather. Patricians made the most of Carnival’s freedom, having spent the rest of the year oppressed by social restrictions just as rigid as those the lower classes endured. Drop a comment below. Mario began selling his masks even before he got a shop; like many at the time, he made them at home. Over time, these photographs have created a collective popular image of Venice’s Carnival as dressing up and posing for pictures. Working with plastic also seemed like a great way to keep prices down. Francesca uses old techniques in new ways; in this case, she is applying “gold” leaf to the papier-mache’ following the steps more typically used by artisans who gild wooden picture frames. The Venetians of the old days wouldn’t have wanted a mask expressing “ironic melancholy” either, but in that epoch nobody thought of masks as something to hang on the wall, which is where most masks today will go. Donate via PayPalDonate by checkBecome a Patron. Carnival means no inhibitions; therefore children, who have no inhibitions, are the essence of Carnival. Venetian Mask-makers use a variety of materials and techniques for decoration of their glorious masks. I have been researching the history and making of Venetian masks. “When you put on the mask,” one woman told me, “you throw out all the ballast.”. We’ll let you know when we release new stories. A perfect marriage of form and function, this mask covers virtually the entire face, and its bizarre design was intended not only to allow the wearer to eat and drink without removing it, but also acted as a sort of echo chamber, thereby disguising even the wearer’s voice. In modern times this intrigue has been enhanced by two movies: Fellini's controversial Casanova in 1976 and the more recent Eyes Wide Shut, directedin 1999 by Stanley Kubrick and starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman I am an art historian writing about everything from Venetian gondolas to Limoges porcelain, Chinese silk, and cowboy boots. Its weird white shovel-shaped mask is called the “volto” (face) or “larva” (meaning ghost, or mask). “I was inside a Rubik’s cube once,” a Venetian woman recalls. Papier-mache’ masks may be delicate, but they are born from heavy chunks of plaster that have been, in a way, turned inside-out. Carnival is a spirit, not a garment. For over 700 years, Venetian masks have played a major part in the intrigues and mystique of Venice. “Arlecchino” is a half-mask with a short, wide nose, arching eyebrows and a bump or a boil on a forehead. “People come in and say ‘I want the typical Venetian mask,’ says Francesca Cecamore at “Kartaruga. If you can’t avoid the throngs, you just accept that you won’t be able to walk faster than a somnambulist. But do not imagine that he is a mere leather shaper and dauber. Two months later Napoleon conquered the city, and Carnival was banned. (I do not refer to actresses because the female characters in the Commedia dell’Arte don’t wear masks. Francesca Cecamore did the same, but differently. But when he came to Venice and started making masks, he finally found a way to use his talents in a way that could also earn him a living. It just is, and you will always look good here. I received my package within 30 days (ordered on July 18 and received on August 7, 2020)The masks are soft and easy to wear. And he walks in a slightly bent-over, decrepit sort of way. High-end costumes are rented from some mask or costume shops for $300 or more per day. She has always done this work: “I have to carry it on because I have it inside me.”And the theatrical world has noticed. The most common venetian masks material … Whatever the outfit, if the wearer is happy it’s Carnival. There are many varieties of Zanni – Harlequin, Brighella, Pulcinella, and Zanni himself, the name being a Venetian nickname for Giovanni. But he colors his with various tints – purple, green, red — which is the only non-traditional aspect of his work. Laws ensued. This mask was worn by Venetian women all year round. Riccardo Roiter Rigoni is a native of Venice, Italy, who has worked as a photographer since 2001. Unauthorized copying or republication of any part of this article is prohibited by law. In this photograph he has already wet the leather slightly to make it more malleable, and has just begun the process of pressing the leather to the wooden form, anchored by small brass nails. The sheer quantity of masks on sale around the city gives the impression that makers are thriving. Black was the traditional color for these masks; Carlo supposes that the old mask-makers didn’t have other colors at hand. The effect on mask-makers is obvious. And some have closed. (To watch Carlo make a traditional leather mask, visit the photo gallery in our sidebar column.). Oct 1, 2020 - Curtisward’s guide on how to make Venetian style masks from paper blanks, paint and mesh and shows how to achieve metallic gold and bronze effects with paint Over time, the economic winds have veered. Masks were used to stalk prey and to take custody of the animal’s spirit. A few artisans, not thinking about whether Carnival would ever return, had already begun making masks in a small way. Pulcinella: Black mask, slightly hooked nose, white shirt and trousers. Before long, flamboyant hybrids like this one – part Pierrot, part Lillian Russell, part Las Vegas – imposed themselves on the popular image of the Venetian Carnival. Pierrot’s face was a mask in itself, painted pure white, with eyes that seemed to look nowhere, but it has become very popular, perhaps because it is so eager to be decorated. For more on Venetian carnival masks, you might enjoy: 5 Things to Know about Venetian Carnival Masks, Venetian Carnival Masks: The Plague Doctor. Did someone mention plastic? Because they imply a venerable quality, the cracks are considered beautiful, so they’re often created deliberately. Carnival in full cry was like 47 Mental Health Days in a row. Katia Amore | ... Today's "mascareri" are true artists who create their masterpieces using various techniques and materials. Have you brought home a treasure from Venice? Among the many Venetian carnival masks we produce in our workshop, there is, of course, the bauta, the queen of Venetian masks. Facts about Carnival Masks 8: the design of the original masks The fact that he is making these, though, shows how far masks have come. Pantalone speaks in the Venetian dialect, which is universally regarded as inherently comic, I have no idea why, and his voice is old and creaky and annoying. The simplest equation is this: He can make a papier-mache’ mask in a few hours, but it takes two days to create one of leather. The first decree appeared in 1268: No throwing eggs filled with rosewater at people. The centerpiece is Mario’s unsellable snail-on-head helmet, which he says was a self-portrait. Typically, a traditional Venetian mask is made out of leather, glass or papier-mache. Facts about Carnival Masks 7: the materials to create the Venetian masks. To keep our online magazine free of ads, and to avoid charging you for our material, the Craftsmanship Initiative relies on grants, individual donations, and institutional partnerships for our funding. But one day not long ago she looked into a box of plain white plastic masks that she’d been planning to decorate, didn’t like them, and began to cut one up. “If I wanted money, I’d do something else. Therefore it can be compressed or stretched and will always resume its shape. “It looks like a stage set.” I said it myself when I first came here and I’ve heard it many times since. When Carnival ended – whether it was the Roman Saturnalia or the Greek Dionysia – order was restored and the promise of life was made for another year, shining in the brilliance of the reborn sun. Gianduiotto, the famous hazelnut chocolate made in Torino, is named for their own Carnival character, Gianduja. Yet perfecting these techniques in order to make Venetian masks properly involves years of practice. Masks were (and in some cultures still are) devised as instruments of magic, made of matter that contained spiritual power, not always benign. A rabbit! And yes, he is supposed to look serious. “But in this work you have to be creative, otherwise you succumb.” Carlo Setti agrees. Traditions, they’re like cultural seatbelts. Wonderful, informative article. “Brighella” is a half-mask too, often painted green with a … The Inuit, and the Igbo of Nigeria, make comic or satiric masks specifically for merrymaking on a grand scale. And the people are shocked.” By now, the average customer thinks of as “the typical Venetian mask” as something glittery, rococo, frilly, and feathery. A mask is not strictly required in order to enter the realm of Carnival. We’ll sell it” – a craft was born. Why leather? Masks change the way we look, obviously, but they also can change the way we feel. “I started making masks because I wanted to live in Venice,” says Mario, who was born in Genoa. “The season of Carnival changes the whole world,” wrote Carlo Goldoni, the 18th-century Venetian comic playwright. Erla Zwingle has written for dozens of magazines over the past 30 years, primarily National Geographic, to which she has contributed 25 articles as well as writing its Guide to Venice. Most mask makers have a variety of paintbrushes at their workbenches, using fine brushes for gilding and other details. It was released as part of an update on 02.28.2014.. Its moment had to be in December, when the days leading to the winter solstice saw life subsiding under the power of rigid cold and freezing darkness. Layers of paint and shellac prepare the surface, which must be perfectly smooth, and the weightless flakes of gleaming metal are glued, varnished, and then coated with a substance that gives an “aged” patina and softens the brilliant shine. Clay, papier-mache’, plaster of Paris, and gauze were suddenly in demand, not to mention all the elements needed – paint, beads, brocade – to decorate ever more lavish versions. Early Venetian mascareri used a variety of materials, from waxed cloth to canvas, velvet, lace, leather, and papier-mâché. When it’s Venice. The most basic mask there is has appropriated the name “volto” from the bauta, but that is its only link to the Venice of yore. Check carnevale facts here. She put the mask on her stuffed animal!”, The mother of the mask is the clay sculpture. Born in Modena, he came to Venice for a week (as many do) and he stayed (as many do). The time-tested techniques for making Venetian masks look simple. (The Venetian young bloods, nicknamed “Mattacini,” or “crazies,” were notorious for hurling “perfumed eggs” at passersby either by hand or from slingshots.) Harlequin: Chubby, black half-mask, snub nose, multi-colored checkered suit. To him, they are very real, with a real reason for being. Include: 1 Mask And 2 PM2.5 Filters The Face Mask Was Made Of Skin Friendly Material Which Is Breathable And Comfortable To Wear. These “amusements” must have been considerable because in 1296 the Venetian Senate formally declared Carnival a public holiday. Men also staged battles, sometimes in the form of dances or pretend naval skirmishes, and for those who had gone eleven months without a good rampage there was also real combat on bridges, where teams pounded each other with fists and clubs, breaking bones, smashing skulls, falling in the water, sometimes even dying. Thank you, Sarah! This man is getting into the spirit with a classic mask of the “Zanni,” who was the categorical cunning, buffoonish servant in the Commedia dell’Arte. This moment was unadulterated Essence of Carnival, and it wasn’t in the Piazza San Marco but far away in the smaller Campo S. Barnaba. PRESKIN – Lace mask gold for carnival, Venetian sexy mask seduction from lace for carnival, party, ball, face, eye, Shades of Gray. Pantalone is Venice’s own, a caricature of a typical Venetian merchant of the mid-1500’s. Mar 3, 2018 - Explore Tania Panui's board "Venetian Costumes" on Pinterest. Other artisans are following similar paths. Today, a few mask makers craft masks using leather, glass, and even ceramic. To watch Carlo make a traditional leather mask, visit the photo gallery in our sidebar column. Roughly 75 percent don’t even stay overnight. Once dry, the paper will retain the shape of the cast or clay model. During Carnival. See more ideas about carnival masks, carnival of venice, venetian carnival masks. Like Venice, Carnival is beautiful in different ways in different moments of the day. The original venetian carnival mask does not break, as it is made of paper mache and gauze on several layers. In the 16th century, two Zanni emerged to form the perfect pair, striking comic gold: The furbo (clever) and the stupido (like it sounds). Italy is bestrewn with Carnivals, some of them (such as the one at Viareggio) much more elaborate than the Venetian version, though in admittedly less gorgeous settings. Your wife’s hat and poncho? It’s Bring-Frivolity-to-Work Day. Some 30 years ago she followed a high-school classmate to Venice from her home in Cogollo del Cengio, a small town (or large village) west of Vicenza. That’s the whole point. We won’t spam you or sell your information, promise. Genuine gold leaf could be used, of course, or silver or copper, but in this case it’s the more modest brass. “I think leather is the true mask,” he told me. Tourism in Venice increases about 3 per cent a year; last year some 30 million tourists passed through, some for only a few hours. “I’ve done different things, but I want to do them well.”. A city that was, as one person put it, “the size of a postage stamp,” had become the envy of Europe, and its Carnival then was arguably more famous then than it is today. © 2021 Erla Zwingle. 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