Just Because

Venetian Masks

This one, purchased at Mondo Novo, is my favorite, but I have yet to wear it anywhere.
This one, purchased at Mondo Novo, is my favorite, but I have yet to wear it anywhere.

Tomorrow is the last day of Carnivale di Venezia and Mardi Gras, and it’s the perfect time to blog about my collection of gilded Venetian mementos. In 2001, I spent two weeks in Venice. One week to visit La Biennale di Venezia and one week to be the typical tourist in the old Venice. My first mask purchases were lame and touristy, but I finally discovered the real thing, Mondo Novo, in the Dorsoduro section of Venice. Several films have featured their creations with the most famous one being Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. In 2001, there was little information on the internet about the traditional Venetian mask, but if you were to do a google search today, there’s a plethora of sources. So now my little collection doesn’t seem so special anymore.

(above) This is one of the first to be bought. Does it remind you of anything?
(above) This is one of the first to be bought. Does it remind you of anything?
(above) Yes. That's right. 'Eyes Wide Shut.' I'm just giving you the G-rated version.
(above) Yes. That’s right. ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ I’m just giving you the G-rated version.
(above) Another still from 'Eyes Wide Shut.' Most of the masks in this film are customized outlandish variations of  the typical versions found in Venice and on the internet. Mondo Novo supplied some of the masks, but with two other mask shops involved and the costume team tricking them out, it's hard to identify which masks originated from them.
(above) Another still from ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ Most of the masks in this film are customized outlandish variations of the typical versions found in Venice and on the internet. Mondo Novo supplied some of the masks, but with two other mask shops involved and the costume team tricking them out, it’s hard to identify which masks originated from them.

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(above 4) More grim stills from 'Eyes Wide Shut.' This is not the Carnivale atmosphere I would recommend, so in the next group we'll see some fun.
(above 4) More grim stills from ‘Eyes Wide Shut.’ This is not the Carnivale atmosphere I would recommend, so in the next group we’ll see some fun.
(above) This is the very first one to be purchased. Very touristy looking.
(above) This is the very first one to be purchased. Very touristy looking.
(above) This was bought at the same shop as the black feathered mask.
(above) This was bought at the same shop as the black feathered mask.
(above) Colombina is a traditional mask from the Commedia dell'arte and was purchased from Mondo Novo. I have worn this one several times.
(above) Colombina is a traditional mask from the Commedia dell’arte and was purchased from Mondo Novo. I have worn this one several times.
(above) This one, purchased from Mondo Novo, is called a Baute. Men would wear this when attending a promiscuous and decadent event. Not only was it a good facial disguise, but the shape helped to disguise the voice.
(above) This one, purchased from Mondo Novo, is called a Baute. Men would wear this when attending a promiscuous and decadent event. Not only was it a good facial disguise, but the shape helped to disguise the voice.
(above) Notice the men in the film 'Wings of the Dove' wearing the Baute mask.
(above) Notice the men in the film ‘Wings of the Dove’ wearing the Baute mask.

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(above four) These stills are from one of my all time favorite films, 'Wings of the Dove.' I would love to be able to travel back in time as one of these costumed characters and celebrate Carnivale in this way. Sadly, today's celebrants have too many tourists mingling among them wearing fanny packs and nylon sweats.
(above four) These stills are from one of my all time favorite films, ‘Wings of the Dove.’ I would love to be able to travel back in time as one of these costumed characters and celebrate Carnivale in this way. Sadly, today’s celebrants have too many tourists mingling among them wearing fanny packs and nylon sweats.

One thought on “Venetian Masks”

  1. Venice Buys says:

    I love the classic Casanova mask! definitely my favorite!

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