Pretty Picture Time – Carnival in Venice
The carnival in Venice will absolutely blow you away. People are walking in the most outstanding costumes and the beautiful historical buildings on the square of San Marco is the perfect setting for the fairytale-like event. I wanted to go to the carnival in Venice for already a couple of years, and finally I can put it off my bucket list this year! Unfortunately my budget didn’t allow me to go to the parties in the palaces, but there is also A LOT to see on the streets. Shall we?
The carnival is already a part of the history of Venice for centuries. The rich and the poor mixed among each other, hidden behind a mask. It must have been a Sodom and Gomorrah sometimes, because with such a costume you will never be held responsible for your misdeeds. Nobody knows who you are. Everything is possible.
The art of making the masks
He stands up when I enter his studio and welcomes me enthusiastically. I hardly introduced myself when he starts talking about the history of the masks. The mask maker Giorgio is passionate about the Venetian carnival and his work, that’s for sure. He tells me a lot about the different types of masks and their origins. That well-known doctor mask you see everywhere in Venice? People used it centuries ago as protection against the plague. They put some herbs in the ‘nose’ of the mask to protect themselves against the bad air in the city. Other masks, like the cat and the joker, were used primarily in the theater. He tells the stories with a lot of passion and I go back in time for just a moment.
Giorgio is just one of the last mask makers in Venice. According to him there are only like ten official artists who sell their work in their studio as well as in other shops in the city. If you want to buy a real mask, make sure that there’s a signature at the backside of the mask. This can be a signature of the maker or an official stamp. The masks are made of papier-mâché. The models of shapes Giorgio uses for making the masks are more than seventy years old and he inherited them from his master. He is now teaching his son the tricks of making masks and he hopes to give the models to him one day.
Amazing appearances in Venice
Without making any sound they move through the city. They don’t talk, they don’t laugh. Even their footsteps are silent. It almost seems as if they are floating, their movements are so elegant and mysterious. Occassionally they nod as a sign of greeting or approval. Hours pass by while I admire these people and their costumes while I’m taking pictures. How many hours of work until they finished these creations? Why do they do this still in the year of 2016? Is it a family tradition? What kind of people are hiding behind these masks? And what happens at those mysterious parties in the palaces? All these questions are in my head while I immortalize these people with my camera. I realize I will never get the answers on those questions. The couple in front of me nods and walks further. Or… do they float?
Have you ever attended the carnival in Venice? I can imagine more people are really enthusiastic about this event. Are you going to Venice soon? If you want to get away from the thousands of Chinese people on the square of San Marco you can spend the day on some of the other islands in the lagoon of Venice!