The masked masks and the Carnival of Venice
During our numerous trips to Venice we became befriended with Gianni Cavallieri, the best craftsman of the city who made traditional Venician masks. Guidi in a way ‘reproduced’ them, using the traditional technique: paper, board and glue, different sorts of varnish and to finish graphite powder, Venecian gold powder and wax a craftman’s work needing a lot of patience.
Masks and faces....
The casts are those of Gianni Cavalieri’s masks or the faces of two friends, Lucia Scappaticci (opera singer in l’Opéra de Paris) and Pierre Lonchamp (painter) and they form the main part of several of Guidi’s masked masks or his ‘mask paintings’, collages on pieces of hardboard, mask collages often leaves looking like feathers.
Guidi also made mini-masks in plaster, ready to be painted by children with whom he would take long walks ‘to teach them to observe’ or when working with them in his studio ‘to teach them to express themselves.
It is impossible not to be in admiration, touched or amused by Pulcinella, the Dottore della pesta, with the nose that contains plants that are supposed to take away the illness and most of all the traditional carnaval emblems as imagined in the 18th century:
la bauta, worn by men, a cape and a tricorne, covering a large part of the face but he can still speak and eat
la moreta, a mask carried by women, at that time held between the teeth by help of a button. It was invented by ladies to prevent their domestic staff to speak to each other. Later on a rod was used during carnaval to hold it delicately to the face by pretty ladies of all kinds of fivolous nature.