A collection of masks in Lipari’s Museum

The most complete documentation in Italy on the costume scenic ancient Hellas

Greek theater, worship and mysteries – A Lipari statues and masks from funerar

Maschera MUseo di Lipari

An extraordinary collection of masks and statuettes in theatrical subjects found in the tomb of the fourth and third centuries BC and stored in the classical section of the Aeolian Museum of Lipari, documenting a little-known cult of Dionysus present in funerary art of Ancient Greece. It is pottery topic theatrical fourth and third centuries, more than a thousand pieces that are the richest in Italy, complete documentation and ancient custom of the Greek stage. Statuettes of comedic actors, satyrs and Silenus and models of masks of tragedy, satyr play and comedy actors of the greek theater (all male) always wore on his face when recitavano.Il that these pottery have been found in funerary, reveals the close connection with the cult of the dead with the Dionysian. Dionysus is the god of wine, intoxication and ecstasy that brings joy to the convivial meetings and is also the god of the theater that originated in Greece in the festivities in his onore.Ma Dionysus is also the god that allowed those who had been initiated into its mysteries to tap into the eternal bliss of the hereafter. The close connection between the theater and Dionysism funeral is at this time throughout Magna Graecia and Sicily and Lipari assumes a particularly rich and documentato.Infatti small masks discovered in the tombs, also, are not isolated but have been found in groups of two or more (up to eight) and in some non-random associations: in fact they correspond to the characters of the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides and the Maschera Museo di Liparicomedies of Aristophanes. Some of them are “types” as the young hero, the old, the courtesan, other characters identify specific: Paris, Elena, Jocasta, etc. Hecuba. and have in common an extraordinary expression and characterization suggesting that it is not a production of handicrafts, but rather a reproduction of prototypes Athenians in turn inspired the original masks created by the tragedians themselves during the presentation of their work in contests Athens. In addition to the masks of tragedy, and the satyr play “Old Comedy”, there are also several extraordinary collections Lipari statuettes representing actors of “play in the middle” that developed in the second half of the fourth century (ie, the death of Aristophanes to ’emergence of the comedy of Menander) and where there has been no original text, so these statues are the only important documentation. The over four hundred characters in this ancient world, which are now perfectly reproduced by the artisans of Lipari to be sold to tourists as souvenirs, seem to want to perpetuate this deception, love, weaknesses, vanities, immutable misery in the human comedy .

Giovanna Grossato



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