There are at least four aspects of the famous mask:
- His theatrical character is bound up with “Commedia dell’Arte”
- His being in artistic iconography of almost four centuries
- The persistence of his symbolic and ritual function in popular festivals as
- His spreading into the puppet shows overall Europe until nowadays and in the
comic art through performances used by important Neapolitain theatrical tradition.
Polichinelle is the French derivation of Pulcinella.Wide spread in scenery of the
“Commedie”from Seventyth century, Polichinelle appears characterized by a big
hunchback and by a mask with a huge hooked nose that gives him a shrill voice.
The costume is coloured and made by a tunic and trousers closed by a belt showing
his big abdomen. His temperament is more similar to a Captain then to a servant:
irritable, braggart and lying, Polichinelle often behaves shamefully. In 1685 the
Italian actor Michelangelo Fracanzani when he was in Paris created a new
character with the same name, with features of Italian and French character. He
empahsised the mask’s deformity by adding an extra hump to his chest, but kept
the original mask and a pointed yellow feathered hat.
Since the 17th century this figure has been found in Commedia dell’arte
scenarios Polichinelle is a tetchy liar and braggart who does no end of
shameful things. Even after the Italian comedians had left Paris,
Polichinelle’s popularity continued on the French stage and in marionette
companies, where he grew steadily more eccentric. His costume became
brasher and he took to wearing a bell cap. He grew steadily lazier and more
quarrelsome, on the run from his creditors.
In the second half of the 600 the French “Polichinelle” arrived in London.
It firstly became famous like a vigorous man with a hump, a big crooked
nose, and a red and yellow vest. He is an idler and he always gets himself
in trouble, doing misdeed, in fact at the end of his adventures, which are
set in scenarios with slaughters of people, he is condemned to death at the
gallows or in the hell with the devil. In the 800 he became a famous stock
character, because it was a symbol of a homonym paper, but in recent
time it lost gradually popularity.