Unfortunately, it has never been my good fortune to be in Venice at Carnival time. The pictures in this post and the previous one were taken several weeks later. But so deeply ingrained are the masks in the ‘Venetian scene’ they remain available in shops throughout the year. The photos were taken through the glass of shop windows – hence, my apologies for the poor quality of the images.
One further point needs to be stressed; the masks are obviously only one part of the costumed appearance. To appreciate their full impact, and their contribution to the Carnival context, please visit one of the many internet sites devoted to the subject.
Click an image to enlarge
Today is the first day of the Venice Carnival. The Carnival is an annual event and takes place during the two weeks prior to the beginning of Lent. The final activities take place on Shrove Tuesday – Mardi Gras. The festivities are characterised by colour, music, dancing, exotic and period costumes, masked balls, galas, circus entertainments, banquets etc. Venetian authorities estimate that the occasion attracts 3 million visitors every year.
The physical ambience of Venice, with its many canals and unexpected alley ways, supplies magic and mystery to create a fantasy setting.
An essential feature of Carnival is the wearing of masks. Although some derive from comedia del arte traditions, others can be imaginatively original, eccentric, weird or, even, macabre.