Make a Venetian Mask

In the mood for mystery? Download, cut and colour a Punchillo mask for that instant carnival spirit!

The inspiration

Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Bridge of Sighs, Ducal Palace and Custom-House, Venice: Canaletti Painting’ exhibited 1833
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Bridge of Sighs, Ducal Palace and Custom-House, Venice: Canaletti Painting exhibited 1833

I bet you are wondering how our Punchinello mask is inspired by this painting of Venice! Punchinello is a character from the traditional Italian comic theatre which is called Commedia dell’Arte. The character of Mr Punch from Punch and Judy shows is based on Punchinello. Punchinello masks were, and still are, very popular at the Carnival held each year in Venice.

This was J.M.W. Turner’s first oil painting of the city of Venice. The painting is meant to remind us of the work of another artist – Antonio Canaletto. Canaletto lived about 100 years before Turner and was famous for his painted views of Venice. Tourists would buy his paintings when they visited the city to take home as souvenirs. Turner in fact shows Canaletto in the left foreground of this painting, working at an easel.

  • 2 x A4 sheets of 160gsm card (thin card suitable for use in a printer)
  • Colour pencils or crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue or Stapler
  • Elastic, ribbon or string
Punchinello mask template
Punchinello mask template

Download the mask design to your computer. Print out both sheets of the mask design on to 160gsm card.

Download activity

  • Draw patterns on your mask and colour them. Use shapes and colours inspired by Turner’s painting of Venice.
  • Cut out along the lines marked with the scissors symbol (not the dotted fold lines!)
  • Fold along the dotted line of the nose.
  • Overlap and glue or staple the nose in place
  • Attach the elastic, ribbon or string at the sides of the mask where you see the ‘o’
  • Now you’re ready to wear your mask and cause some mischief!

Top Tip: Stick glitter, beads and ribbons on your mask for that extra special glamorous carnival look

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