Giorno di Carnevale, 2018

CREATUM CIVITAM LAUDENS- Carnevale Venezia 2018-

Carnival day photography Venice

“I can not fail to see the desperate effort that man makes to organize his life. Because the circus is first of all, the show itself of life. All the elements are found there, thrown there, in bulk, so violent, so tragic, so tender. All, without exception. ”

Federico Fellini

Carnival day photography Venice

The 2018 Carnival of Venice was declared to be a tribute to the circus by its artistic director, Marco Maccapani. The circus is an ancient form of spectacle, made to astonish with its technique, acrobatics, and magic, in which skills and fantasy are mingled in an amazing combination that never fails to enthrall.

And so, from January 27 to February 13, 2018, “Piazza San Marco” in Venice took on the appearance of a large circus, heightened all the more by scenery and decoration using imagery from the films of Federico Fellini.

Carnival day photography Venice

The 2018 Carnival was the most beautiful and memorable of all those that I have attended since 1992.

The masks that in the 1990s silently greeted and thanked with formal reverence, now acquired an identity, individuality, a name and a life that went with them; the actors of the 2018 Carnival fulfilled their roles with an ease and perfection that can be acquired only with time and practice. They had prepared for this spectacle for a whole year, meticulously perfecting every detail of the masks and dresses they would don for but a few glorious days.

Arnaldo Febbrini, legendary icon of the carnival, recognized himself in one of my shots at the “Logetta of Sansovino“ in 1992, and in another one from 1998, something that touched me deeply. Other people then came forth who recognized themselves as well in the images of those years, and in my digital images of the 2017 Carnival.

 I believe now that the privilege I have had, to be able to get to know so many of the masked people of the Venetian Carnival, has deepened my love for Venice. And gifted with this love, I am able to approach and convey in the truest way the unforgettable imagery of the most beautiful Carnival in the world. 

According to most sources, the origins of the Carnival of Venice date back to the year 1162 when Venice celebrated its victory against the Patriarch of Aquileia. Others say it began in 1094, when the Doge Vitale Falier, chief magistrate in the former Republic, and the government of the Serenissima wanted to allow the poor to enjoy a bit of fun and festivities.

In the Middle Ages, the Carnival became a party during which the world could be turned upside down; a period of debauchery for those who were normally obliged to respect the rules of their social position and an escape valve allowing them to mock the powerful. For this reason, for many years the Venetians wore masks in public to conceal their identities, and thus dispense with the inhibiting differences created by social class, gender or religion. As a consequence of this public anonymity, the generic greeting of “Good day, Madame Mask” became popular to use each time one encountered a mask wearer.  Carnival day photography Venice

In 1797 Napoleon Bonaparte, during his occupation of Venice, feared the masks could too easily conceal conspirators and facilitate rebellion, and he banned the Carnival festivities, which were restored in the 20th century. It was from 1979 onwards that the “Carnevale di Venecia” was reorganized in its current form. 
Digital photography and in particular social networks have made the Venice Carnival acquire a new presence; people from all over the world have discovered its mysterious charms, and travel expressly every year to the “Serenissima” to wear a mask and feel part of the Venetian spirit. Meetings of masks are organized in palaces and also during “raduni”, gatherings in specific spots like Santa Maria della Salute, where the masks and photographers converge, and where photographers can bring their equipment and get close-up shots of the masks and costumes.

The official contest of “La maschera più bella” (the most beautiful mask), held every year and during which the public chooses the winners, has encouraged a lively spirit of competition and creativity in the costumes.
In 2017 I rediscovered the carnival of Venice that I had not visited since the late 1990’s. That year I succumbed and became a hopeless “addict”, another victim of the “virus” of the Venetian Carnival, for which there is no cure.
I believe this creative “addiction” to the Carnival is due to the feeling that, just as Federico Fellini described the circus, it is a spectacle on the verge of madness, the utmost show of Life, where all its elements are thrown together in a violent, tragic and tender way. The once-anonymous masks that now have acquired names and lives are maybe the most emblematic expression of this combination…of life… where roles, abilities, and fantasies are mixed in an intoxicating celebration.

Pablo Munini © Mexico city , February 2019

Carnival day photography Venice

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