Venezia header: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni


(Middleman mask)

The Mezzano is somebody who makes the contact among two parties.

What we see here is the Tracagnino mask (hey … it looks like Harlequin!) which, with a mechanical device can leave messages on the window sills of his loved one, not being discovered by her parents.

And the pantograph machine could be hidden very rapidly and easily.

Most used mask for this was Tracagnino, from Romagna, that holds some resemblance (and very likely connection) with the Trachalion of Plautus (Rome, II century BC).

In the background we see two Commedia dell'Arte masks: Zane (a Zanni I would say) and Piatello.

This method of communication was also used to pass around messages about smuggling goods in or out of Venice, let’s not forget that Venice has always been a very strong centre of legal and illegal commerce.

Watercolor by Giovanni Grevembroch: "Mezzano"
Giovanni Grevembroch: "Mezzano"
pen, ink & watercolor (18th century)
Museo Correr - Venezia

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