Floating City

Ashley Sadocha

Disguised in Venice; a time of universal liberty

As I took part in the exhilarating masking experience, I, similar to the Venetians, developed a different perspective of myself and of those around me. My perception of other people changed when I couldn’t see all or part of their face because facial expressions were hidden and to me are significant in defining who a person is. In class we discussed the importance of seeing human emotion in the paintings and we noticed how it was hard to fully connect and react to the paintings when the facial expressions were concealed. People communicate their feelings, views of others, and thoughts through facial expressions- all of which is veiled under a mask. I took on another persona yet chose to wear a mask that resembled my true self. This contradicts what some Venetians did as they chose masks at the opposite end of the social scale, far aware from their own identity. My mask was ordinary as it was not elaborate and someone else in the room was wearing it too which was comforting. Additionally, I chose my mask because it was simple yet fancy in the most modest way. I feel this to be similar to my identity as my appearance is simple with no makeup yet adorned with my silver and gold jewelry. Although I did wear a mask that resembled my personality, I still felt different with it on. As the Venetians did, I respected privacy and did not try to recognize those around me as I did not want them to notice me under my mask. Looking closely at my face in the mirror, I noticed I had transformed into a different person with the mask on, full of anonymity; rid of my personal identity, unique characteristics and individual traits. As I learned in the reading, masks concealed identities and allowed the maskers to engage with people they normally would not be able to in regard to the strict Venetian social hierarchy. 

Long-Nose Mask worn by the Medico Della Peste (Plague Doctor)

image courtesy of http://themascherade.com/contents/en-us/d5_Page_5.html

The Long-Nosed Mask worn by the Medico Della Peste (The Plague Doctor)

image courtesy of http://www.vivomasks.com/blogs/masquerade/8966917-the-7-different-types-of-masquerade-masks

These two images depict the Medico Della Peste (The Plague Doctor) who wears the long-nose mask and is easily recognizable. 17th century French physician Charles de Lorme took sanitary precautions while treating plague victims by creating this mask. This image of the doctor was most likely someone of a lower class because during Carnivale maskers took on the identity of those belonging to the opposite end of the social scale, far aware from their own character. 

Simple black and gold half-face mask

image courtesy of http://pixgood.com/black-masquerade-mask-for-men.html

This image depicts my first half-face mask. It is ordinary and not elaborate and someone else in the room was wearing it too which was comforting. I chose this mask because it was simple yet fancy in the most modest way. I feel this to be similar to my identity as my appearance is simple with no makeup yet adorned with my silver and gold jewelry. Choosing a mask that resembles my actual personality and self contrasts what most of the Venetians did when they participated in Carnivale under persona of the opposite social class. 

Similar to how a Venetian porter inherited the identity of a knight, I as a student, took on the role of a high-class mysterious individual, perhaps a noble woman? 

This is a picture of my long-nose masked face illustrating anonymity to both myself and to others. As you can see, this mask covers more of my face than my first one did and therefore more of my true self and feelings are concealed and not shared with society. There is a freedom that comes with being anonymous when the whole face is covered as the maskers can engage with people they normally would not be able to in regard to the strict Venetian social hierarchy. Also, I, like the Venetians, have the ability to get away with committing more actions under this mask as my identity disappears once behind it. 

The Volto Mask depicting anonymity

image courtesy of http://www.vivomasks.com/blogs/masquerade/8966917-the-7-different-types-of-masquerade-masks

Anonymity is a large theme I found in the Venetian Carnivale. Depicted here is the Volto mask which is a simple style that covers the entire face, yet defines basic facial features such as the lips and nose. It guaranteed full anonymity as no part of the face showed to society. The masker's true facial expressions are totally hidden under this mask and therefore perceptions of the masker are altered and hindered as there is no way in telling what the masker really believes, thinks, or feels. 

Ashley Sadocha