Commedia Dell’Arte Leather Mask
Commedia Dell’Arte was an early form of professional theatre, originating in Italy, that was popular throughout Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries.It was formerly called Italian comedy in English and is also known as commedia alla maschera, commedia improvviso, and commedia dell’arte all’improvviso. Characterized by masked “types”, commedia was responsible for the rise of actresses such as Isabella Andreini and improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios. A commedia, such as The Tooth Puller, is both scripted and improvised. Characters’ entrances and exits are scripted.
The Italian Commedia dell’Arte tradition which flourished throughout Europe from the 16th to 18th centuries has provided the roots and vocabulary for modern Western theatre and remained a strong influence on it. Its imprint can be seen in Shakespeare, Restoration comedy, melodrama, music hall, vaudeville, circus, pantomime as well as many modern comedies and TV sit-coms.
This beautiful example is I believe crafted from a thin leather and finished with a ribbon to tie it to his or her face. The wear and patination only serve to highlight the features of this tactile character.