Archive for the ‘MAPS Project’ Category

Venice has to be one of the most inspirational cities in the world. It has a unique atmosphere, breathtaking architecture and is stunningly beautiful. One of the most atmospheric events in the Ventian calendar is the annual Carnivale which starts around two weeks before  Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday. During Carnivale local people and visitors dress in elaborate costumes and wear masks, the masks being traditionally worn to protect the identity of the wearer, and to allow members of all social classes to mantain their anonymity when socialising together, to protect them for any indiscretions. The city of Venice and the atmospheric architecture provides the perfect backdrop for the stunning costumes and masks.

Venetian masks are highly detailed and elaborate and are works of art in themselves.

Many of the Venetian masks are based on the characters from the Commedia dell arte – a popular theatrical movement which flourished in Venice. The main characters of the Commedia dell Arte and their maks are listed below:

Zanni Mask: The origin of Zanni is believed to be a nick-name for Giovanni, a popular given name in Bergamo. Hard times fell on these farmers as cheap imported food flooded Venice taking away their source of income. As a result, Bergamase peasants migrated to Venice working as servants. Commedia dell’Arte provides a parody with characters that live for the day, eating, sleeping, and seldom thinking. Yet Zanni has an uncanny survival instinct. Furled brow and long nose are characteristic of Zanni masks. The longer the nose, the dumber the character.

Arlecchino Mask: Masks for this character include eye masks with diamond-shaped patchwork, cat masks, and some connect Arlecchino to the joker mask.He is a leading Zanni with a dull mind, yet very street-wise. He is acrobatic on stage and developed into the French character, Harlequin. Arlecchino is usually a servant to Pantalone and is contriving, but his plans most often fail.

Pantalone Mask: Pantalone is the money-man in Commedia dell’Arte that employs Zanni. The mask is a long face with mustache and pointed beard that sweeps forward. Pantalone is the father of Isabella and the only character with money, although he is tight with his wallet.

Il Dottore Mask: Il Dottore comes from Bologna, the city of Italy’s oldest university, and is a parody of the academia. Humor lies in his statement of the obvious in lofty words — “a river saturated with water”. This Venetian mask has bushy eyebrows and a bulbous nose.

Il Capitano Mask: Il Capitano masks today may be strikingly handsome, but the original leather masks used in Renaissance times were quite the contrary with a long nose and furled brow. Il Capitano is a blustering character, usually a Spaniard, who constantly brags about military exploits that are entirely fictional.Because he is not from Venice, no one knows his background and no one can refute the stories. At heart he is a coward.

Isabella Mask: Isabella is the daughter of Pantalone and enters the story line of Commedia dell’Arte as one of the lovers.The lovers are a parody of younger upper class men and women involved in courtship, but mainly in love with themselves.They were unmasked in Commedia dell’Arte, but modern artist sometimes attribute beautiful female masks to Isabella.

Columbina Mask: Columbina is a maid servant that compliments Arlecchino and is the only masked female character in Commedia dell’Arte.Unlike Arlecchino, she has intelligence, dresses well, and shows self-discipline. Columbina masks are generally elaborately decorated eye masks.

Pulcinella Mask: Some believe the origins of Pulcinella date back to Macchus, a character in the Attelan Fables of the Roman Republic. Early versions of this character in Commedia dell’Arte were a hunchback like Macchus and had a nose like a curved beak. A façade of good humor covers the ruthless manner of this self-centered character that developed into Punch of the Punch and Judy shows. Furled brow and long beaked nose characterize the mask.

Pedrolino Mask: Youth and innocence mark Pedrolino that developed into the more familiar French character, Pierrot. He is an honest and sensitive character with a stoic appearance to hide the remorse for the slightest of injuries to others. Pierrot masks have a white face often displaying a teardrop.

Originally Commedia dell’Arte masks were made from leather, but modern artists in Venice prefer papier mache’. The beautiful designs created by Venetian masters inspire mask-makers around the world. These Venetian style masks have striking beauty that is quickly raising public awareness of this once obscure art.

I have been greatly inspired by the elaborate and colourful costumes and masks used during Carnivale in Venice and have decided to use this as the basis for my map design. My idea is to draw a carnivale costume, and somehow incorporate the map of Venice into the costume design, which sounds very complicated but hopefully I will be able to produce something along those lines.

In addition to the map I hope to incorporate other features of Venice into the costume design, recognisable architecture such as the Campanile tower, the Grand Canal, gondolas, the masks etc

The Campanile


Grand Canal

Read Full Post »

During my research on Venice I came across many art works which I found particularly interesting or inspirational and I decided to post a couple of them here:

This painting is by the Russian impressionist Ekaterina Reutova.  I love the colours and the way the light and the buildings reflect so vividly in the water.

I also really like this acrylic painting by Cheryl Ehlers, as the colours are stunning and I love the way the light is captured by the artist.

Read Full Post »

For this project we were required to create an illustration which captures the essence of a destination based on a map. I initally thought about numerous destinations in the world which have their own unique identity, such as London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Venice, and I looked at the attributes of these cities. From this I chose to focus Venice as I felt it possesses a unique identity and character, which would provide inspiration for my   illustration.  I began my research by looking at maps of Venice to familiarise myself with the layout of the city, so that I could attempt to incorporate this into my illustration.

Simplified maps which show the basic shape of Venice, which I can hopefully incorporate into my illustration:

I also found this interesting old illustrated map of Venice, which is more pictorial, and I found this useful as inspiration for how pictorial elements can be incorporated into the shape of a map.

I then began to look for pictorial maps from other locations, and came across this modern illustration of the map of London:

Other interesting pictorial maps I found were:

Looking at these pictorial maps gave me a lot of inspiration and ideas for what I wanted to create for my map of Venice, but I also wanted to capture the essence and the atmosphere of Venice in my illustration, which I felt that these pictorial maps do not. In a way I want to create an illustration inspired by Venice, and incorprate a map into the ilustration rather than create a map and incorporate illustrations into the map. I hope this makes sense .. well it does to me anyway !!!

For my next research step I need to research the atmosphere and essence of Venice.

Read Full Post »