“Virtue has a veil, vice a mask.” – Victor Hugo
I was 12 years old when I visited Venice, Italy and began what is today my undying love for Venetian masks. They are a symbol of the Carnevale di Venezia (the Carnival of Venice), a time when all Venetians are able to let loose and enjoy all of their most hedonistic desires before Lent. The festival brings up to 3 million people to Venice each year! The mask symbolizes an opportunity; it’s speculated that they originally were used as a way for social hierarchy to be blurred amongst Venice’s inhabitants, but they also serve as an opportunity to not identify who is who when one is doing naughty things.
I’ve been collecting masks from Venice since that trip to Venice and I am still passionate about the cultural importance of these masks. They are a symbol of Venice’s history and they are a reminder of the timelessness of tradition.
Carta Alta creates the masks for many Hollywood films and parties. The masks featured above in Gossip Girl were created by Carta Alta. They also created Playboy’s 60th anniversary commemorative mask (below). A couple of the masks in my family’s collection are on display in my bedroom, I prefer to look for masks with a lot of detail and have unique pops of color (the hot pink cat mask was a great find!). I hope that my passion for Venetian masks is shared by others for years to come to ensure that this never becomes a lost art.