Portfolio - Carnevale di Venezia - Click on images for details
The Carnevale di Venezia is said to have originated from a victory of 'La Serenissima', as Venice was then known, over Ulrico, Patriarch of Aquileia in 1162. To celebrate this victory, dances and reunions took place at the San Marco Piazza. In the beginning, the celebrations started the day after Christmas, and continued until Lent. The magicians, charlatans, performers, the music of Vivaldi, the masks, the beautiful and mysterious men and women are what symbolize the Carnival. From this evolved the Commedia dell'Arte.
Commedia dell'Arte, meaning "artistic comedy", was a theatrical, often humorous and bawdy presentation by actors who travelled throughout 16th century Italy. The characters were drawn from all over the country, speaking several dialects, and so the focus was on physical representations rather than the spoken word. Hailed as the precursor of the pantomime and the harlequinade, the Commedia dell'Arte survived because of its enormous influence on the written word. In a pre-established setting, the actors unique talents were displayed with their art of improvisation in their responses to each other, or at audience reactions. They often made use of the lazzi (special routines inserted at appropriate stages of the play to heighten comedy). The caricatures displayed below (Colombina, Arlecchino, El Capitano and Pulchinella) of the more popular Commedia dell'Arte characters.