“Many cultures have enjoyed the playful freedom one feels after donning a mask,” writes Erla Zwingle in Craftsmanship Quarterly. “But no place has taken these toys for grown-ups to greater extremes, both elegant and diabolical, than Venice.” The Venetian mask has a complex history and many variations, explains The Mascherade. “Masks in Venice were therefore a symbol of freedom, a way to get rid of social rules and to conceal the masked person’s identity and social status, not only during Carnival, but also in everyday life,” says Mario Belloni at Ca’ Macana, one of the oldest and most respected mask makers in the city. Take one of their workshops and you can make your own mask under their expert tutelage, or just watch how they do it in the short documentary, Mask Maker in Venice. Alternatively, head along to Karta Ruga for one of their demonstrations, which explain the history of mask-making and “show you how a mask is created with the various stages of craftsmanship.”
“To keep the ancient art of mask making alive in Venice, the Compagnia l’Arte dei Mascareri was created,” writes The Venice Insider. You can also find a list of accredited Venetian mask ateliers at In Venice.
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