Collection: Venetian Masks

The Venetian Masks… masks have been a respected tradition almost everywhere for centuries but in Venice, quite unlike elsewhere, their use wasn’t limited to Carnival time:  it was allowed and widespread in everyday life as well for most of the year.. In particular the baútta (or baúta, if you like it better) was extremely popular as, leaving the mouth free, it allowed the bearer to drink and speak while still protecting his or her anonymity. 

Outside the Carnival season they were generally used to keep one’s identity or social status concealed – sometimes in the business world, often for romance reasons, but occasionally also for less commendable purposes such as for instance getting rid once forever of an obnoxious rival or competitor. Good old times… :-)

They also had a very special official use: in the Great Council of Venice - the parliament of the Republic – wearing a mask was mandatory when a secret ballot decision had to be made.

As the Venetian Republic was conquered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire the use of masks was forbidden – one could suppose as a precautionary measure to prevent the Venetians from getting rid anonymously of the new arrogant authorities.

Nowadays the Venetian Masks, richly decorated in gold, silver, crystals, feathers and anything else fantasy may suggest, are generally worn with a tricorne hat over gorgeous costumes in Baroque or Renaissance style whenever a masquerade event is to be celebrated, first of all the Carnival of Venice.

Digital art photography.
Venetian Masks