Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni
Watercolor by Giovanni Grevembroch: "Sembianza Trasformata"
Giovanni Grevembroch:
"Sembianza Trasformata" (Transformed Appearance)
pen, ink & watercolor (18th century) - Museo Correr, Venezia


In no city of the world it was universally accepted for people to go around six months of the year wearing a mask, hiding one’s identity, except Venice, ça va sans dire.

Men, women, were having their freedom guaranteed by their hiding behind a mask, mostly men, though.

This lead to the growth o a new profession - still seen in Venice going full force - of people creating masks, weird, traditional or practical, for everyday use.

The mask makers (mascherari) enjoyed a special position in the Venetian society, with their own laws, their own guild and their own statute since April 10, 1436.

The mascherari would be considered as painters and were helped in their work by sign-painters who drew faces onto plaster and were well paid.

The masks were usually made of thin fabric solidified with wax, or made in leather - more durable but heavier to wear - and sometimes painted in black.

The same techniques and materials are used nowadays by the craftsmen in the “touristic” Venice, the tradition goes on.

Copyright by Roberto Delpiano 1997-2023 - visit my website www.delpiano.com