The first document which refers to the Venetian masks dates back to the thirteenth century, but their introduction in Venice is surely antecedent. It is hypothesized that they have arrived in Venice thanks to trade with the East, and therefore long before. It almost seems that the masks have been part of the life of this city as if there had always been.
The use of Venetian masks
The Venetian nobility was made up of adventurers who had made their fortune through trade with the East. It was people who loved risk and could not live a life without it. With masks adventure it was again possible in the city because everything was allowed protected and hidden from them.
The use of Venetian masks was so widespread that it was not limited only to the festivities of the Carnival, but also at other occasions so that the Venetians masqueraded for about half the year.
The use of the mask was also transverse in the sense that crossed all social classes allowing nobles mingle with the people and making contacts between the different social backgrounds much closer together.
The most classic of masks: The Bauta
When and where
Precisely in 1700 Venetian masks were worn from October to June, excluding the days of Advent and Lent. In some places the mask was required by law, for example, in the local casino, you could enter only if masked.
The comedy of the Art
Of particular interest for the masks it is the Comedy of Art become popular in 1500, in which the actor, the main protagonist, wearing “fixed” masks.
In this type of theater the dialogues are almost totally improvised and develop on a track called “canovaccio”.
A revolution of the Comedy of Art was introduced by Carlo Goldoni in Venice. In his comedies, dialogues, in fact, are no longer improvised but written by the Author and recited by the characters. In Comedy of Art actor loses its identity and becomes the mask wearing creating various characters.
Our mask of Pantalone