Venetian masks: history and views

The history of the appearance of masks

Nowadays, the mask is an attribute of the holiday, but earlier people in masks could be seen on the street any day.

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During the plague epidemic, doctors, going to the patient, put on a mask with a long beak, on the tip of which various essential oils were dripped, hoping in this way to protect themselves from the plague. In addition, the image was complemented by a long dark cloak and a stick with which they touched the sick. They never touched them with their hands. In general, such doctors looked extremely frightening.

Venetian masks: history and views
Venetian masks: history and views

By the way, it was the plague epidemic that caused the appearance, and then the widespread distribution of masks. At first, masks, as I said, were worn by the doctor, and then the aristocracy took over this idea.

In an isolated small town like Venice, rumors spread very quickly. In order not to undergo general discussion, the aristocrats preferred to hide their faces under elaborate decoration. The motives varied, from not entirely legitimate to outright malicious. But the main advantage was that in this form it was possible to walk through brothels or gambling houses without fear. Anonymity allowed one to indulge in innocent amusements or vices with the same carelessness, and in the morning again look like pious citizens.

It is not surprising that in this situation not only noble people, but also ordinary townspeople fell in love with wearing masks: for many, they have become a daily accessory.

Venetian masks: history and views 2
Venetian masks: history and views 2

They hid their faces, including hired killers, for whom the fashion for anonymity came in handy.

In the eighteenth century, Venetian masks became so popular with the people that people began to abuse them, and the wearing of masks had to be strictly regulated. Thus, the masks could again be seen on the faces of the townspeople only on certain holidays.

This tradition has survived to this day. Who does not know the masks of the Venetian carnival?

Basic Venetian masks

Bautta

The symbol of Venice, the most popular and beloved

Venetian masks: history and views 3
Venetian masks: history and views 3
Venetian masks: history and views 4
Venetian masks: history and views 4
Venetian masks: history and views 5
Venetian masks: history and views 5

This strict and sinister image was preferred by the highest aristocracy. Casanova also favored him. In fact, this is a death mask, descended from medieval miniatures. The costume itself consists of a black robe and a triangular hat.

A mask of white, less often black, covers the entire face, and has a specially protruding upper “lip”, which muffles and changes the voice beyond recognition (!). The chin remains open.

In addition, the mask device allows a person to eat and drink without exposing their face.

Bauta has no gender, no age, no faith, no class. To put on a bautta is to renounce an annoying individuality, to abandon your own face, to free yourself from moral norms. To the question “who did it?” Bauta replies: “The mask …”

Some believe that the name “bautta” is consonant with the German “protect, shelter”. Sometimes this mask was called “LYARVA”, which in Latin, and then in other languages, meant: “Ghost. A newcomer from the other world. ”

And to this day, Bautta appears at the carnival closer to the night. She silently, without engaging in any conversations, glides along the parapets of the canals. A ghost from the land of the dead – that’s what the Venetian BAUTTA is.

Mattacino

She was the most modest against the background of the general luxury of carnival costumes. But … only in this costume was it allowed to grimace, cringe and show off in various pretentious poses.

Venetian masks: history and views 6
Venetian masks: history and views 6
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Venetian masks: history and views 7
Venetian masks: history and views 8
Venetian masks: history and views 8

The main attribute of this costume was a long belt in the hands. Folded in half, it resembled a kind of sling, with the help of which mattacino threw eggs in the morning on women in a hurry, which had been previously filled with “rose-scented water”. Hence, “mattachino” – in the local dialect – “morning”.

Imbued with a love of fun and entertainment; disrespect to any kind of authority; with a sling ready to throw their eggs, they march in groups, condemned by the majority, wild and unbridled.

Nyaga

It is considered a mask of homosexuals because women could wear it. The Inquisition prohibited the dressing of men into women, any manifestation of Sodom’s sin was strictly persecuted on all days, except for the carnival. Usually a person in this mask appeared surrounded by friends disguised as children.

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Venetian masks: history and views 9
Venetian masks: history and views 9
Venetian masks: history and views 10
Venetian masks: history and views 10
Venetian masks: history and views 11
Venetian masks: history and views 11
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Venetian masks: history and views 12

The costume should be an old, vulgar-flamboyant female outfit of the 16th century of any social group. It is necessary to imitate meowing with a voice, and feline habits with wiggling movements.

Moretta

The most mysterious, most romantic mask is “SERVETTA MUTA” (mute maid), but a more familiar name is “MORETTA” (Moretta, dark-skinned woman).

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Venetian masks: history and views 13
Venetian masks: history and views 14
Venetian masks: history and views 14

And among the people it was called “HUSBANDS OF HUSBANDS”, since in place of the mouth of the mask there was a small peg from the inside, which had to be clamped with your teeth so that the mask would stay in front of your face – according to Casanova, such masks made women mysterious, and most importantly … …

It was an oval of black velvet. The name most likely comes from “Moor”, that is, black. This black perfectly emphasized the noble pallor of the face and the red Venetian hair color. No wonder this mask was so loved by the ladies of the upper class.

These days, moretta masks are only made to order. In the shops selling masks, the “mask of silence” is not to be found.

Plague Doctor

Unconventional Carnival mask. The Italians borrowed this mask to ward off the terrible stench and neutralize the miasma that plagued Venice in the 1630s. Remember when you put aromatic oils in your nose?

Venetian masks: history and views 15
Venetian masks: history and views 15
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Venetian masks: history and views 16
Venetian masks: history and views 17
Venetian masks: history and views 17

Although this birdlike, sad image of hopelessness did not fit in with the fun of the carnival, time has turned it into the exact opposite.

The kind “Plague Doctor”, due to its expressiveness, has become one of the most amusing and beloved carnival masks. He diagnoses everyone and prescribes medication. He speaks, sprinkling speech with medical terms and Latin words.

Also, the “Plague Doctor” is the judge of the carnival.

DAMA DI VENEZIA

The most elegant and sophisticated mask, embodying a Venetian beauty from the upper class of the Titian era.

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Venetian masks: history and views 18
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Venetian masks: history and views 19
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Venetian masks: history and views 20
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Venetian masks: history and views 21

With intricately styled fiery red hair, or bright feathers, ornate, she is still the most beloved image of ladies and young beauties.

It is fastened with tapes. Some have a handle on their chins instead of strings.

There are a lot of options for the “Dama di Venezia” mask, you can choose any one to your taste.

Volta

“VOLTO” (VOLTA), a sexless mask, also known as “CITIZEN” (Citizen). It was worn mainly by ordinary ordinary citizens, who were not allowed by funds to buy expensive exquisite masks.

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Venetian masks: history and views 22
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Venetian masks: history and views 23
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Venetian masks: history and views 24

Volta copied the classic shape of a human face. Occasionally it was decorated with paintings. Attached to the head with ribbons; some had a handle on their chins.

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