Monday, October 17, 2011

Epcot's Italy Sells the Art of Masquerade

Tucked in a corner of the Piazza at Epcot's Italy Pavilion lies an elegant little gem of Italian art and culture. It is the realm of Giorgio Iurcotta, who relocated to Florida from Venice, Italy, to represent the family business of creating beautifully painted, mysterious, paper mache masks.

Mask Shop SignItaly Staircase

Eight hundred years of history support the Republic of Venice in a place of unrivaled superiority fitting this most extravagant and beautiful state. "A level of social wealth unequaled since, the citizens of Venice developed a unique culture - one in which the concealing of the identity" was key. In this indulgent state, the art of the Masquerade became a critical part of daily life. Elaborate costume meant to conceal ones identity led to a culture in Venice of "luxury, indolence, and moral decay." After all when no one knows who you are, there is so much more that can be said and done. The decadent lifestyle of Anonymity that the Venetians enjoyed was eventually banned, and the wearing of masks was "gradually shortened into the week-long festivities that now comprise Carnevale." [1]

Mask Details More Masks

The shop is filled with Venetian masks of all shapes and sizes, from full face coverage gilded with raised scrollwork and painted in every color imaginable, to the delicate and elegant filigree webs that sparkle and glitter in the light. There is a mask that speaks to everyone, as masks were intended to be worn by all classes of people. The exquisite laser cut filigree were my favorite. As someone with glasses I have always thought Masquerade would never be for me, but with some ingenuity I think these could be attached to a pair of wire frames subtly and even I could join in the fun! Not to mention that they are amazingly girlie and beautiful, the perfect mask for a princess. 

Filigree Masks

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