Rossana Molinatti at the 2018 edition of Carnival in Venice presents Guernica

An extraordinary Venetian artisan who creates original costumes
In our previous post we had the pleasure to introduce to you an exceptional Venetian woman of great culture, a creative, volcanic, extremely active lady, full of ideas and with a great deal of energy to transform such ideas into reality.

Meeting her has been quite an experience for us: we have had the possibility to enter a very original world.The mask for the 2018 edition of the Carnival
When we visited Rossana at her house we also had a strong desire to know in advance which mask she was working on for the coming up edition of the Venetian Carnival. And it was with great excitement that we heard that Rossana had already started to create her next masterpiece, based on one of the most famous paintings of all times: Guernica, by Pablo Picasso. This great artist painted his fabulous work after Guernica, a Spanish city, had been bombed in 1937, during the civil war.

Guernica (by Pablo Picasso, 1937)

The subject of this painting is quite complex, we are not taking into consideration any analysis in our post. What is immediately evident at the first glance is the deep emotions that spring out from the canvas: anxiety, suffering, devastation.

A very personal interpretation of Guernica
How will Rossana be able to transform Guernica into a new work of art? We visited her several times during the winter to see her work in progress. Rossana explained that it is not really easy to give volume to a bi-dimensional painting. What she tries to do is to isolate the most relevant elements of the work of art she has chosen, and then to transform them, as to come up with a personal interpretation of the masterpiece.

The Horse, detail

As far as Guernica is concerned, one of the elements chosen was the horse: the frightened expression of the animal has become one of the symbols of the atmosphere which is present in the painting. In order to create this figure Rossana used styrofoam and papier-mâché: these are the materials that she normally prefers for her masks. The question, though, was how to reproduce the fringed hair of the horse. Rossana used an empty bottle of chlorine for the purpose, cutting it into fringes. The horse has probably been the most difficult figure to create: in the painting, in fact, it looks flat, so it has been quite a challenge to give volume to the figure.

Light bulb, detail

Mother and child, detail

The Bull, detail

Also for the light bulb, the mother with her child and the bull Rossana used styrofoam with papier-mâché.

When she works on a project, her entire house is transformed into a workshop: every single object can be used as recovery material, on every table and at every corner you can find the elements of the mask she is working on.

Rossana’s workshop-house

Rossana’s workshop-house

The mask “comes to life”
Once all the different parts of the mask are finished, Rossana covers them with a layer of Bologna plaster and eventually paints them with the appropriate colors. Finally, they are attached to a metal structure.

The detail with light bulb, partially painted

The detail with the horse, partially painted

The metal structure

On this metal “cage” Rossana applies the silk cloth, that was accurately chosen for its consistency and for its colors. On the silk Rossana then applies a special kind of cloth, previously printed with images taken from the painting (Guernica in this case); it is on top of these printed images that the three-dimensional styrofoam elements are then fixed.

Rossana shows us the silk she has chosen for her Guernica

Rossana shows us the silk she has chosen for her Guernica

The metal structure covered with a metal net, silk and some of the details of the mask

Rossana will at the end enter this metal “cage”: totally unseen inside this structure, Rossana will walk around Venice, to experience the Carnival her own way, peeping out from an almost invisible slit on the cloth.

The cut allowing Rossana to enter inside the costume

The work of art is finished!
The final result is quite astonishing. We were sure that Rossana would have created a marvelous art work, but this mask has really exceeded our expectations. Now we are looking forward to seeing this masterpiece in St. Mark’s Square and in the narrow alleys of our magical Venice.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Guernica, by Rossana Molinatti

This new art piece by Rossana does not properly fit the joyful, playful, thoughtless atmosphere that is normally the essence of the Carnival. This masterpiece definitely brings along several thoughts… And it is our hope that this Guernica, like the original one by Pablo Picasso, can offer to all the guests, in the swirling sounds and colors of the feast, the chance to think about history, about life, about the real values that should rule our world.

Finally, if you are in our beautiful city during Carnival, walking around on your own or taking part to a private guided tour of Venice, pay attention: if you see Guernica, now you know there is this extraordinary artist inside the costume. Ciao!

The bull and the small square window allowing to Rossana to see