My idea of the The five man of Venice were to portray one of my favorite Venetian Carnival masks – the white face mask in a dark suit. They are grim but something about them seem to be correct, as if they are right to do whatever it is they do in those dark outfits. My idea in the painting was to have them as the guardians of Venice. I always think of them when I think about Venice.
I showed this painting to my mom and she replied “but of course. Their profession is exactly that – grim but needed”.
I pretended I know what she is talking about, hiding my shameful memory or worse – lack of knowledge.
She then continued to say that the outfit is of plague doctors.
The clothing worn by plague doctors was intended to protect them from airborne diseases. The costume, used in France and Italy in the 17th century, consisted of an ankle length overcoat and a bird-like beak mask, often filled with sweet or strong smelling substances (commonly lavender), along with gloves, boots, a wide-brimmed hat, and an outer over-clothing garment.