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The Magic Art: The History of Mask and the Sartori Family



The Magic Art: The History of Mask and the Sartori Family


Mask is possibly the oldest form of artistic expression in the world. It traverses most known cultures and lies at the intersection of ritual and art. Paola Piizi and Sara Sartori will discuss the story of the Sartori family: its role in recovering the artistic significance and the ancient manufacturing technique of the leather masks.

Tuesday, February 26 | 6:30pm
Istituto Italiano di Cultura | 496 Huron Street, Toronto

Free admission

The Sartori Family

Paola Piizi and Sara Sartori are widow and daughter to Donato Sartori, son of the famous sculptor and mask maker Amleto Sartori. In the the wake of the second world war there was a renewed interest in Italy in the traditional commedia dell’arte. Giorgio Strehler, famous director and leader of the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, brought together many artists with the aim of re-discovering the commedia. He asked Amleto Sartori to make masks for his productions of Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters starring Marcello Moretti as Arlecchino.

This started a lifelong love of mask for Sartori. His research produced the first modern technique of making half masks out of leather, as they would have been made during the renaissance. This was an incredible re-discovery (or re-invention depending on how you look at it) of a piece of Italian cultural patrimony.

Dying young from cancer Sartori’s son, Donato continued the research, production and fabrication of the masks along with the aid of his wife and daughter.

Sadly Donato, after a long battle with cancer, passed in summer 2016 and left the legacy to his wife Paola and daughter Sara.

In addition to running a unique museum of Sartori’s masks in Abano Termo, Paola and Sara continue to run the yearly month long mask making workshop at the Sartori atelier and Paola lectures and teaches the theory and practice of mask, with a very interesting perspective on the role of women in the history of mask.


Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Time: At 6:30 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura

Entrance : Free


Istituto Italiano di Cultura | 496 Huron Street, Toronto


Paola Piizi e Sara Sartori