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Carnival Masks of Venice - A Photographic Essay by J.C. Brown Books in Review
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Carnival Masks of Venice - A Photographic Essay
by J.C. Brown
AAPPL Artists' and Photographers' Press Ltd
ISBN 978-1904332831
Published November 2008 - Hardcover - 96 pages - $24.95

I love Venice, and I saw many masks for sale but I never imagined the history behind them.  Masks have been around for centuries, and more so now in Venice since the 1970s, and they are not only used in the carnival pre-Lent.  Masks have been used in the theatre forever, also in Egypt, Greece, France, and by anyone wishing to hide their identity.  Traditional masks like Arlechino (a comic servant) and Capetano (braggard captain), are well known, but you can read about the larva (no mouth on this mask), the bauta (mantle from the head and down over the shoulders), and the moretta, among others.  There is so much air of mystery around masks, that you are left imagining all kinds of people behind them.  The colors of the masks in this book are vibrant and intoxicating as you page through glorious photograph after glorious photograph.  Some masks are delicately adorned, others heavily accented with drama, and some are downright scary.  All have their charm and beauty however.  Without the incredibly intricate and elaborate costumes, many of these masks would not be displayed as well as they are.
Conclusion - Exquisitely illustrated.  Remarkably beautiful and somewhat eerie.

book cover

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