Stenterello: the only Mask of the Florence Carnival

Stenterello: the only Mask of the Florence Carnival

Stenterello is the traditional mask of the Florence Carnival. Known as the only mask of Carnival and Teatrofiorentino; According to the testimonies of Pellegrino Artusi and Pirro Maria Gabrielli, was also the last mask of the comedy of ancient art.

Stenterello was created in the eighteenth century by Florentine artist Luigi Del Buono (1751-1832), creator of brilliant popular comedies.

Del Buono was, just like his character Stenterello, slim, sparuto, gracilissimo, like “who seems to have grown up”. Small stature, yellowish complexion, spacious forehead and arched eyelashes, had a natural predisposition to brilliant acting and the composition of comical dialogues both in verse and in prose.

A watchmaker, with the shop in the square of the Duomo, near the Arc de ‘Pecori (via de’ Pecori). But his great passion for the theater led him to enter, at the age of 25, in the company Giorgio Frilli, and in the years 1778-1779 he became the director of the Fiorentini Accademies at the Ognissanti theater. In 1782 he definitively chose the artistic career by selling the watchmaker’s shop, entering three years later in the company of Pietro Andolfati where he specializes as a characterist.

He founded his company in 1791 and came to the top of his success by merging into a single figure all the features of his characters. A figure that the people called jokingly “Stenterello”.

The following Stenterelli were not always milder and dry, just as Del Buono was. Each one personally liked him according to his own person and his acting style. The nickname, commonly used in Tuscany, was given to children and men “grown up with gods”. Indeed, it seems that even Del Buono had since nicknamed this nickname because of his stunted physicist. Raphael Landini – among the closest to Del Buono – recalling the origin of the mask, told that the friend had taken the idea of the character from the ways of doing and being a beggar, who was under a tabernacle of Via della Scala And for the language he had been inspired by the garb of a barber who spoke utterly.

For more information, visit the Florence Museumweb site or call 055-713655.

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