Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni


... o Servetta Muta (Mute Servant)

Mysterious and intriguing: this may be the reasons of the great success of this mask, the so-called Moretta (the name means "Dark", because of its color).

The mask, used by women only, is made of black velvet and held in place by biting on a little button, would highlight the beauty and the blond hairs of the user, and protecting their virtue, not letting them talk, and … lack of brain? Just a guess. Rather uncomfortable for sure, but that's the way fashion has always been.

The forced silence to which these women were forced especially pleased the male counterpart … maybe the Venetian women were known for being too talkative?

The mask idea originally came from France, and was employed by the head of the family and cautious husbands to “take the young ladies out”. Out in the streets and visiting monasteries, to have a chat with the nuns there. Looks like fun, those were the times.

A “virtue mask” that, of course, during Carnival time added that forbidden, sinful halo to its user. Women loved it, that’s historical.

Watercolor by Giovanni Grevembroch: "Mascara"
Giovanni Grevembroch: "Mascara" (Mask)
pen, ink & watercolor (18th century) - Museo Correr, Venezia

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