The history of the Venetian mask has ancient origins: in fact, a school of "maschereri" existed since 1271. Here they used clay for the shape, plaster casts, the paper-pulp, the paste, and the cheesecloth for the texture and the wash colouring in order to paint them.
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Commedia dell' Arte
Differently from nowadays, the mask was used for many days during the year, and for many reasons: from 26 December, when the Carnival started, toShrove Tuesday midnight, when it finished. During the Ascension, and then even from 5th October to 16th December.
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They used masks even in the most important manifestations, such as in the official banquets, or in the extraordinary parties of the Serenissma Republic.
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Moreover, gamblers used masks to protect themselves from indiscreet glances, gentlemen begging used the mask too.
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Therefore, the mask was used to express freedom, amusement, disobedience and immortality: a great illusion which involved and joined the reach people and the poor ones.
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However, a series of law by decrees , allowed masks only during the period of Carnival. He who disobeyed, was hardly punished.
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