“The neutral mask is considered the first mask ever, the one that will allow people to wear all the others.”
A few, very few kilometers from the AbanoRitz and we arrive at the International Museum of the Mask Amleto and Donato Sartori: a modern center for the promotion and the enhancement of the culture related to the performing arts. Dynamism and experimentation uniques in the world and open to everyone.
Opened on the 30th of December 2004, the museum contains the works of Amleto Sartori and his son Donato. Amleto Sartori, poet and sculptor, began the study of the mask of the Commedia dell’Arte after World War II. He created a technique of modeling leather masks on a wooden mold. It was his friendship with Jacques Lecoq, a French playwright, that introduced him to the theatrical world starting from the Teatro Piccolo in Milano; Lecoq argued that the mask should succeed in erasing the expression of the actor’s face, neutralizing it, and Amleto invented the so-called neutral mask, the mother of all masks.
Amleto Sartori died of cancer at the age of 46, leaving an important inheritance to his son and pupil in the continuity of his work. But times had changed, events gave clear signs of socio-cultural mutation and masks… should followed the same course as they was, for Donato Sartori, the sculpture lent to the theater. He continued his collaboration with the leading directors and actors of the Italian and French theatre, starting a new relationship with the American and European avant-garde theater with multi-disciplinary and multimedia works.
Donato Sartori in 1979 founded, with Paola Piizzi and Paolo Trombetta, the Centro Maschere e Strutture Gestuali, starting an independent research that led him to deepen the theme of total mask and urban masking.
Since the 30s, Amleto and Donato Sartori created a collection that includes a real heritage of masks and sculptures, as well as the collection of research carried out around the world. On the 14th of March 1997 the City Council approved the concession on loan of Villa Savioli with the new museum destination, which houses this great cultural heritage since the inauguration in 2004.
Villa Savioli was one of the most significant holiday homes of the Venetian nobles of the seventeenth century. For a mere coincidence, the keystone of the entrance portal consists of a mask: here is the entrance to the Mask Museum today.
One of the good news of this summer is the official recognition of the collection of the Museum by the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities which has decreed the exceptional cultural interest of the Museum dedicated to the masks of the Commedia d’Arte. Almost a century of work carried out with passion and dedication with the aim of conservation, dissemination, recovery and deepening of the use of the mask in Italy and in the world.