There are lots of shops making a living (or appear to be) from the carnival masks that we associate with the city, and there are almost as many selling figurines in traditional carnival costumes, though to be fair defining what is traditional is somewhat tricky; there are those who dress in the formal costume of early centuries, particularly the 16th, those who adopt a style of huge rhinestoned costumes and white faces reflecting a mode of dress introduced with the revival of carnival in the 1970’s, but for me the masks and costumes of the Commedia dell Arte feel the most authentic.  There is also a creeping influence of the American Halloween, but the less said about that the better!

I know Watteau‘s famous painting of Pierrot is not masked, but this seems to sum up the style of Carnival for me, and this figurine, probably due to its dramatic gesture caught me eye on both occasions that I passed the shop where it was for sale.  I had to stop the second time.



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