Renaissance Unit Study - Venetian Carnival

Renaissance Unit Study

Week 11: We made Venetian Carnival masks.

How would you like it if someone threw an egg at you? Carnival in Venice began during the 11th century as a religious tradition. But as the years passed, the celebrations turned away from religion and towards fun and mischief. During the 13th century, one carnival tradition practiced by men, was throwing eggs at ladies. Naturally the ladies didn't appreciate the egg throwing, so the men began wearing masks to hide their identity.

Seven main types of masks, each with their own special significance, hid the identity of the wearer. The masks enabled people could engage in improper behavior without fear of retribution. People liked the freedom and the carnival season stretched to six months in length. Gamboling and drinking rates increased. Debtors hid from creditors and noblemen who came upon hard times begged for cash to replenish their supplies.

Masks were works of art and constructed from clay, paint and other materials as shown in How Venetian Masquerade Masks are Made below.

Soon laws were passed forbidding masks except for designated special events and celebrations. With the reforms, carnival became a time to speak out against government and poke fun at life's rituals in a format much like Saturday Night Live. Skits and performances are still a big part of the carnival tradition today all throughout Europe.

Bravo! Zan Angelo! is a picture book about a family of carnival actors and a quick read to go along with this lesson.

Carnival Masks
Blank Masks
Glue Gun
Craft Jewels
Glitter Glue
Lots of craft supplies

Unfortunately the glitter glue and objects attached to the masks with kids glue fell off as soon as they were dry. Other than that this project requires little explaining, so just scroll through the pictures and enjoy.

He made a sad bird mask.

For activity ideas from others check out these blog hops.

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