Mascaron

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on skype
Share on email
El Mascaron
a monstrous and grotesque stone figure
mascaron

The Venetian term “mascaron” indicates stone figures with monstrous and grotesque features, inserted on the keystones of portals, wells or bridges, for ornamental and superstitious use.

The ancient function of the “mascarons” with frightening sneers or monstrous features, half human and half beast, carved in the facades of palaces and churches, was to scare away the evil demons or even the devil. 

In particular, the sacred places were equipped with stone guardians often placed near the bell towers so that they could guard against the evil presences that, attracted by the sound of the bells, would create havoc among the population.

One of the most famous mascarons is certainly the one that decorates the entrance portal of the bell tower of Santa Maria Formosa, known as “El Mascaron”. Its purpose was to frighten the devil but surely it succeeded in scaring the English writer John Ruskin, author of the beautiful book “The Stones of Venice”, who described it in this way: “a head – huge, inhuman and monstrous – leering in bestial degradation, too foul to be either pictured or described, or to be beheld for more than an instant…..”

“El Mascaron” at first sight is undoubtedly impressive. Observing with care the traits of the monstrosity, in the end the thought runs more towards the terrible malformation that struck this unfortunate person, rather than to a form of wickedness where the external ugliness plays to raise the sense of terror. Isn’t it true that behind such inclemency on the part of “Mother Nature” hid the purity and the soul’s generosity of Quasimodo?

Curiosity: even now in Venice, when you see a woman using too much make-up, so much so that she looks like a mask, you say “par un mascaron”.

Location: Santa Maria Formosa, Venice

Leave a Replay

About Us

We are a Venetian company that produces Murano glass items. We are specialized in glass creations for architecture and interior design. As a sign of love for our wonderful and unique city, the information and services offered on this blog are for educational purposes only and have been carefully selected for quality and reliability.

Disclaimer

Texts and images included in the posts are only partially works by the authors of the articles and their properties. Some images and texts are taken from the web and, therefore, considered to be in the public domain. Where possible, source and author are published for illustrative purposes only, in compliance with the law on the “Protection of copyright and other rights related to its exercise”. If their publication violates specific copyrights, please notify us for timely removal. The authors of the blog are not responsible for the content of comments to posts, nor for the content of the linked sites. Please read the blog disclaimer carefully.

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Video

Sign up for our Newsletter

By entering your email address, you agree to receive updates and promotion and accept the privacy  policy and the terms of use.