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Photographer's Note

The first official "bal masquι" was given to the XVI° century to celebrate the victory over the plague.

The masks then made it possible to remain in anonymity, thus abolishing the social barriers.
The noble ones got dressed as servants and the servants as aristocrats, men and women exchanged their clothing.
During a few days in February, one forgot suitabilities, the difference between the social classes, and the whole city plunged in the madness. The Carnival of Venice knew its apogee with the XVIII° century, at the time of Casanova. These insane days lasted almost six months then and had taken as much importance than the businesses of state.

But when in 1797 Napoleon took the town of Venice, it made prohibit the carnival. Its reign involved not only the fall of the republic, but also a long period during which the Venetian ones were private of their carnival.

The "bauta", the simplest costume, is composed of a cape, a hat with three points, a veil and "larva", mask white which completely covers the face and which deforms also the voice.
Harlequin, the buffoon of the devil, goes up with the Divine Comedy of Dante. He is accompanied by Pantalone, formerly "the Splendid one", the rich man, of a doctor, "Dottor Balenzone", and servants named "Zanni" or "Zan"...

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Additional Photos by Georges Bartoccioni (gbarto) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 169 W: 14 N: 140] (1275)
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