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 Download my free audio guide and come home from Italy with a souvenir you’ll cherish. “And I had some friends who dressed up as slices of cake, and every so often they’d come together to make an entire cake. 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. He has been many things in his life – drop-out engineering student, puppet-maker, cabaret singer, scene designer, and itinerant actor performing comedies of the Commedia dell’Arte. 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. “The masks were crooked, kind of ugly – we sold them on the street. Dec 16, 2019 - 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 ... Materials needed to make Venetian Masks. All donations are tax-deductible. The 15th and 16th centuries were Venice’s Golden Age, and the expansion of its empire provided riches, established power, created work and inspired pride. Beginning in 1271 (25 years before Carnival was declared a holiday), documents mention a school that taught mask-making, and the techniques, tools, and materials used in making them. Drop a comment below. Donate via PayPalDonate by checkBecome a Patron. – is enough. If the humidity is low and the temperature comfortably high, a mask can crackle its way to antiquity in only 30 minutes. 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. Carnival and Venice are the Scarlett and Rhett of European culture: they were made for each other. Two months later Napoleon conquered the city, and Carnival was banned. 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. One of the reasons I love Venice is because of the air of mystery created by the masks. Nonetheless, Marilisa is hoping a customer might think, “Bargain! It’s Bring-Frivolity-to-Work Day. Leather masks require time, effort and skill (this eliminates many would-be competitors), they can be expensive (which eliminates many would-be customers), and the classic masks of the Commedia dell’Arte – his favorites – are something of an acquired taste. There aren’t many more than that today, but now there are at least 2,000 points of sale, from little shops specializing in masks to tobacco shops, newsstands, and kiosks. 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. Whether you’re actually attending the Carnevale di Venezia, or just trying to bring some of its magic to a more everyday masquerade ball, you’re sure to find something of interest in this selection of authentic Venetian masks. See more ideas about carnival masks, venetian carnival masks, carnival. You can employ the glass technique and decorate the masks with ribbons, porcelain or even leather. History and Development The carnival became a public festivity in 1296, with an act of the Senate of the Republic of Venice, but its origins are even older. Laws ensued. “When you put it on, you see others and yourself with other eyes,” a mask-maker said. Word spread, people came, people danced. Prostitutes (there were some 11,000 of them) were forbidden to wear masks. 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 mask’s maker often was required to follow specific rituals for protection from this power. The effect on mask-makers is obvious. “I think leather is the true mask,” he told me. “It liberates you.”. Many cultures have enjoyed the playful freedom one feels after donning a mask. Over time, these photographs have created a collective popular image of Venice’s Carnival as dressing up and posing for pictures. “There was a shop near the Piazzetta dei Leoncini that advertised hand-made papier-mache’,” said Mario Belloni of the artisanal mask shop, Ca’ Macana, “but it was plastic with bits of papier-mache’ attached.”. During the 17th and 18th centuries “public amusements” like these were spread across the entire city, and they were often much more spectacular than impromptu dancing. Only the mask is expressive – it identifies the character, and each character represents a mood (mockery, bragging, gaiety, confusion), and therefore it must never vary. Pulcinella: Black mask, slightly hooked nose, white shirt and trousers. Facts about Carnival Masks 8: the design of the original masks Venetian Mask-makers use a variety of materials and techniques for decoration of their glorious masks. 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. But he colors his with various tints – purple, green, red — which is the only non-traditional aspect of his work. Then, on February 27, 1979 – 182 years to the day after Carnival was banned – music was heard in the Piazza San Marco. Masks not only hid who you were, but what you were – class distinctions disappeared, to the great relief of everyone. Adults look for their favorite animal, either their talisman or something related to their family name. Mario Belloni, owner of Ca’ Macana (one of several shops that made masks for the Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman movie, “Eyes Wide Shut”), has been working sporadically on this piece for several months. To the right, the typical bauta with a tricorn atop (treated with wax and buffed to a soft gleam). Floating theatres were set up along the main canals, and festive dinners were given for kings and ambassadors on the bridges. Thanks for joining me! Married women going to the theatre were forbidden not to wear masks, “to protect their honor.” No masks in the casino — your creditors need to know who you are. Moretta is an oval mask of black velvet that was usually worn by women visiting convents. A few artisans, not thinking about whether Carnival would ever return, had already begun making masks in a small way. Even without the innumerable interruptions, it would not be easy to achieve the expression of “ironic melancholy” he wants, which he is going to name “Venice.”. But he has made his peace with that. “I was inside a Rubik’s cube once,” a Venetian woman recalls. For more on Venetian carnival masks, you might enjoy: 5 Things to Know about Venetian Carnival Masks, Venetian Carnival Masks: The Plague Doctor. “Nobody wants the opaque or semi-opaque effect,” says Mario. This mass of people may look like insanity unchained, but the visitors are unmanageable only in their numbers, not their behavior. Why leather? Well-made or not, the masks began to sell, and the game was on. Unsubscribe at any time. Many Venetians remember the moment well. Include: 1 Mask And 2 PM2.5 Filters The Face Mask Was Made Of Skin Friendly Material Which Is Breathable And Comfortable To Wear. I feel I’m making something more valuable.”, He looked at me sternly. 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. You prefer feathers, velvet, and beads? It Is Perfect For Everyday Use. The most common venetian masks material … 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 monsters and devils of many Carnivals are designed to keep faith with their primitive founding spirits, let loose to rampage on the understanding that they will be conquered once again. For several centuries mask-makers were considered a sub-category of the decorative crafts, on the same level with, for example, stucco artists. Nonetheless, the edgy, elemental spirit of the original primordial Carnival still survives in children, usually boys, firing lavish garlands of Silly String at people (today’s version of eggs with rosewater). FREE Delivery. What better place to indulge in make-believe than in the most make-believe city there is? Once dry, the paper will retain the shape of the cast or clay model. Leather is the traditional material for masks used in the 15th-century Italian comic tradition known as the Commedia dell’Arte. Paint on the colors, and wear. 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. The name lives on in English (“zany”), and also in a common Venetian saying still used today: “Far da Zane e da buratin” (“be the Zanni and puppet”) of someone. Very informational site! Roughly 75 percent don’t even stay overnight. 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. Papier-mache’ masks may be delicate, but they are born from heavy chunks of plaster that have been, in a way, turned inside-out. “If I wanted money, I’d do something else. Born in Modena, he came to Venice for a week (as many do) and he stayed (as many do). 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). In 1094, doge Vitale Falier made the first recorded reference to “public amusements” in Venice, to which he gave the already well-known name of “Carnevale. If you’re a professional photographer, you take them to make money on postcards and advertising and magazine articles. No matter how many masks she’s made, she still loves it. Over time, these characters formed archetypes that did extremely well, even without masks: Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Lucy and Desi, the Smothers Brothers.There is no end to this perfect union. Most mask makers have a variety of paintbrushes at their workbenches, using fine brushes for gilding and other details. 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. His masks are for sale, but at heart he isn’t a merchant. Or they leave the city entirely, which many Venetians have found to be the perfect solution to everything. “Carnival is something you do, not something you look at.” If you’re a tourist, you take pictures for fun. My art history lessons can be found at TED-Ed. One morning I wedged myself next to a woman who was dressed as some sort of monstrous butterfly with enormous, multi-colored wings that opened on either side of her. On February 28, 1797, Venetians celebrated what turned out to be their last Mardi Gras. 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. Everything after that are just toys.”. 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. Some only work Carnival. “And then I thought, why not try something with it?” A nose sliced off a Zanni, the lips removed from a “volto,” long ribbons sheared from the beak of the Plague Doctor – cutting is the part she really likes –and then she glues the pieces together into fantastical originals. For over 700 years, Venetian masks have played a major part in the intrigues and mystique of Venice. As Pulcinella, Carlo suddenly seems to be smiling, but it’s the happy outlines of the mask’s eyes that create that effect; his own expression hasn’t changed at all. It was all playful. Among the many Venetian carnival masks we produce in our workshop, there is, of course, the bauta, the queen of Venetian masks. https://lauramorelli.com › how-venetian-carnival-masks-are-made The clay or plaster model may be used again and again to form the basic mask, even though no two masks end up looking exactly the same. 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). Love this post! “At the beginning everything went well,” he remembers. “So I show them the bauta. Beginning in 1271 (25 years before Carnival was declared a holiday), documents mention a school that taught mask-making, and the techniques, tools, and materials used in making them. Italian law permits an article to be labeled “handmade” if some percentage of the product has been made by somebody’s hands, somewhere. I’m the only person in the world who has this!”, The first time you pretended you were something other than your own wonderful self, you probably imitated an animal. “If you want to talk seriously about masks,” he said, “we should go back to the Stone Age, when one mask represented the god, and another represented the king who had to die so that his people would live. Take some sunshine, add music from a wandering quintet, throw in some happy people, and you’ll have dancing in no time. 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. Because they imply a venerable quality, the cracks are considered beautiful, so they’re often created deliberately. The sheer quantity of masks on sale around the city gives the impression that makers are thriving. A tour of the world of Venetian masks, and their starring role in the mega-party called Carnival. The History of Carnival. Today, Venetian masks are mainly associated with Carnevale di Venezia or the Carnival of Venice.But their origin in the city pre-dates Carnival by a few hundred years.No one seems to know exactly when Venetians started wearing masks to conceal their identity. “People come in and say ‘I want the typical Venetian mask,’ says Francesca Cecamore at “Kartaruga. He lets them look, he answers their questions, but he doesn’t explain why his leather masks cost nearly $200 and up. 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. This Zanni mask, which Mario made in papier-mache’, reproduces the facial ridges that would occur with leather. These characters often take some animal form – wolf, human-bear, human-deer – that dwelt in the terrifying forests and chasms, and bear names in equally ancient dialects. But you’d have trouble selling a postcard of that. Venetian Carnival Masks Masks Suitable for the Venice Carnival. resting on the face is soft, light and pleasant to wear. 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. There are some people – I offer gondolier Roberto Vianello, nicknamed “Cicciolina,” as Exhibit A – who are born seeing the fun in life, and Carnival is just an excuse for more. (The Venetian young bloods, nicknamed “Mattacini,” or “crazies,” were notorious for hurling “perfumed eggs” at passersby either by hand or from slingshots.) Moretta is a traditional Venetian mask. Yet perfecting these techniques in order to make Venetian masks properly involves years of practice. Or to put on a disguise or frivolous outfit of some sort, to parade, to frolic, to take pictures of parading and frolicking? Venetian masks can be made of leather, porcelain or using the original glass technique. Girls like either the little mouse, or the cat, or “more the princess sort of thing.”, And now for the hyper-modern. Because actors tend to sweat, and after a few shows papier-mache’ would be on its way to the boneyard. Creating masks is, indeed, an art in Venice, a tradition dating back hundreds of years, making the carnival of Venice truly unique. ADJUSTABLE: The Ear Loop Of Our Polyester Face Mask Is Adjustable, You Could Freely Change Its Length According To Your Face Contour, Preventing Leaving Trace During Carnival the great mercantile and political juggernaut that was the Venetian Republic paused, devoting its greatest talents — artistic genius, passion for pleasure, and endless amounts of money – to private diversions and public revelry. This mask was worn by Venetian women all year round. Check out my books page for more in-depth information. Some rent costumes with their masks. These highly decorated masks are either tied to the head, or held on a stick, and are worn along with colourful costumes. Masks were (and in some cultures still are) devised as instruments of magic, made of matter that contained spiritual power, not always benign. To watch Carlo make a traditional leather mask, visit the photo gallery in our sidebar column. If you want something that isn’t yet in this collection – a deathstalker scorpion, maybe, or Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra – the proprietors might discuss a custom assignment. Today, a few mask makers craft masks using leather, glass, and even ceramic. Black was the traditional color for these masks; Carlo supposes that the old mask-makers didn’t have other colors at hand. The mask was finished off with a veil. This is the mask of Pantalone, the linchpin character of the Commedia dell’Arte whom Carlo often played. It was invented in France and rapidly became popular in Venice as it brought out the beauty of feminine features. It’s a fair question, and the short answer is “Any way they can.” Carnival is high season, of course, so that’s when they sell the most. 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. 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. Many artisans are talented mask decorators, but only a few are also gifted in making the mold. Like Venice, Carnival is beautiful in different ways in different moments of the day. Photography by RICCARDO ROITER RIGONI and ERLA ZWINGLE. It has a defined shape, but not as rigid as plastics. Elderly, avaricious, gullible, lecherous, he is a simple soul whose suspicions make him easy to trick. Wonderful, informative article. Over time, the economic winds have veered. By 1773 there were 12 shops making masks in Venice. Topics: Arts and Entertainment, Sports, Hobbies, and Toys, Materials: Clay, Leather, Paper, Plastic, Wood, Story by ERLA ZWINGLE Mar 3, 2018 - Explore Tania Panui's board "Venetian Costumes" on Pinterest. ), Carlo wouldn’t regard his masks as mere souvenirs, even though he rarely sells them as anything else. After a very long absence of these masks, they made a comeback in 1979 when the Italian government decided to bring back the traditional carnival of Venice. Eventually, Venetian masks re-emerged as the emblem of Carnevale (Venetian Carnival), a pageant and street fair celebrating hedonism. “I started making masks because I wanted to live in Venice,” says Mario, who was born in Genoa. He put on his bauta, with mask, after the show and went around the cafes to hear what people really thought of his latest masterpiece. The only things missing were masks, but not for long. Keep your eyes out as I will be posting more information about Venetian masks to this blog as 2015 Carnival approaches in the next week and a half. 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. 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. During Carnival. I appreciate your stopping by! He thought it was hilarious when he heard his friends saying terrible things. What people seem to like best isn’t so much the crackling as the shine. Early Venetian mascareri used a variety of materials, from waxed cloth to canvas, velvet, lace, leather, and papier-mâché. 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 “This work gives me so much energy,” she said. 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. Masks change the way we look, obviously, but they also can change the way we feel. Artisans like Francesca work hard to produce what they know tourists want, then must struggle to find time to experiment, try new ideas, surprise themselves. We won’t spam you or sell your information, promise. 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. Anyone is fair game, but matrons in fur coats are a prize target because they get so angry, which is so funny. There are hundreds, I think thousands, of Carnivals in the world, but the Venetian version is one of the most famous; every year more people come, drawn not only by the chance to wear (or at least see) fantastic masks and elaborate costumes, but to do so in a place that can seem like something you just dreamed up. Nowadays, most Italian masks are made with the application of gesso and gold leaf and are hand-painted using natural feathers and gems to decorate. Facts about Carnival Masks 7: the materials to create the Venetian masks. © 2021 Erla Zwingle. After all, the city itself seems to be dressed up and wearing a mask, its palaces and canals so phantasmagoric and always so beautiful. felt like mugging, molesting, or murdering. But rents rise, costs rise, and shops are struggling. I have been researching the history and making of Venetian masks. Men who dress like this for Carnival are often would-be priests who didn’t make it through seminary. Francesca is Venetian, the second generation of her family to make masks. (A loophole was later conceded, allowing masked gambling between 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning.) “Let’s tell the truth,” he said. Venetian Masks are worn during the Carnival of Venice in Italy, which celebrates the start of Spring with street parades and parties. The original venetian carnival mask does not break, as it is made of paper mache and gauze on several layers. Her father was one of the small pioneering group of artisans who brought back masks when Carnival was revived in 1979. Unauthorized copying or republication of any part of this article is prohibited by law. Gianduiotto, the famous hazelnut chocolate made in Torino, is named for their own Carnival character, Gianduja. Check carnevale facts here. 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. Genuine gold leaf could be used, of course, or silver or copper, but in this case it’s the more modest brass. 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. Working with plastic also seemed like a great way to keep prices down. The only thing more exciting than wearing it would be standing next to it on a crowded vaporetto. Any little item – a butcher’s well-used apron, perhaps? Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. This toddler obviously isn’t a gondolier – they never throw confetti. Add to this a long black cloak, a length of lace-trimmed black fabric which covered the head and shoulders, and a tricorn hat, and you had an outfit that guaranteed a large degree of anonymity. Mario envisions this as a major piece, ultimately carrying a large headdress, yet he knows he may not sell many of them. I am the author of the award-winning novel, THE GONDOLA MAKER, and the LAURA MORELLI'S AUTHENTIC ARTS travel guide series. Carlo Goldoni, the 18th-century Venetian comic playwright, made the most of the mask’s capacity to liberate. If you're making a papier-mache mask, begin by creating a plaster mold and then lightly applying petroleum jelly to prevent the mask and mold from becoming inseparably stuck together. Porcelain, Chinese silk, and you will always resume its shape chocolate made in papier-mache ’ be. For a week ( as many do ) and he stayed ( as many do and. 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