Masks have been part of Venetian culture since at least the 12th century A.D. as it was in 1162 that the first Carnival festival occured, a city wide celebration which marks the period prior to Lent. Up until 500 years ago, classic Venetian masks were constructed of papier-mâché, a medium that some Venetian mask artists still utilize during the modern day. Strips of papier-mâché are laid into a mold made of resin and layer by layer they are covered in glue. All materials are designed to be non-toxic. When a mask is complete, artisans use scalpel blades to cut out the eyes and any rough pieces remaining (e.g. edges etc.). Once a mask dries, it is decorated with beautiful colors and artwork (e.g. floral arrangements etc.). This is often performed freehand with a pencil. Masks are then painted using beautifully ornate colors (e.g. blue, red, yellow etc.) and finished by adding accoutrements (e.g. 24 karat gold leaf etc.). The craft was almost lost when Napoleon Bonaparte conquered Venice, Italy in 1797 and banned Carnival and Carnival masks as he believed the event could spark rebellion. Benito Mussolini banned the celebrations once again in the 1930’s. Until the late 1970’s, Carnival was a largely forgotten relic but it has since observed a resurgence within popular culture

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