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12 February 2018

Driade dresses the flamboyant Venice Carnival with Nemo chair in Piazza San Marco

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Carnevale in Venice, as with Carnival around the world, takes place in the days leading up to Lent. In 2013, it runs from January 26 to February 12.
During the 40 days of Lent, parties were off-limits—and so was eating foods like meat, sugar, and fats. As a result, people would try to get rid of all of their rich food and drink.
The tradition of masking has a long tradition in Venice. All the way back in 1268, a law even was passed to ban—of all things—putting on masks and throwing perfumed eggs!
By the time of the Renaissance, masks were a fixture of Carnevale celebrations. By the 16th century, the popular Commedia d’Arte troupe performed slapstick comedy in the piazzas of Venice—while masked.
By the 18th century, Venetians were allowed to wear masks for six months a year. And they took advantage! Black velvet masks, for example, would be worn in “houses of ill repute”—especially gambling parlors—to shield their owners’ identities, as shown in the painting here.

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