La Pietra Filosofale

leather masks

La Pietra Filosofale

leather masks


The Philosopher's Stone. There are really special places, and Carlo Setti's small workshop-shop, La Pietra Filosofale, is surely one of them. Away from the spotlight and without sparkling shop windows, it is a little-known place but regularly visited, by word of mouth, by theatre people from all over the world in search of sets for the best theatres of the commedia dell'arte. Here, in fact, custom-made handcrafted masks come to life, true unique pieces, with great attention to detail, perhaps condensed from that catalyzing substance that is the symbol of alchemy, which gives the business its name. Like the philosopher's stone, Carlo Setti works with leather, right there in his workshop, combining shapes, colors and dimensions with the magic of a wizard. He does not design models, he starts directly from pieces of wood, finding inspiration from everything around him. Wooden moulds, perhaps because his father, a carpenter, had a carpentry shop in Genoa before moving to Venice, where the son attended nautical school and, thanks to some friends, developed a passion for theatre, eventually studying set design at the Academy of Fine Arts. In order to earn a living, he started with a small wholesale of papier-mâché masks, but over time he refined his skills in leather by working as a puppeteer in schools and asylums and traveling around Italy. In his workshop you can breathe in the smell of the people he met on his travels and the books he read: a buzz of real leather masks, made in the traditional way depicting famous people and figures from the Venetian carnival tradition. The fun, however, is also in making other faces for the stage because for this master of other times it is a joy to propose to everyone the most expressive character through masks enriched with the strangest materials such as feathers, leaves, fabrics and any other inspiration offered by the imagination.

La Pietra filosofale di Carlo Setti


San Marco 1735, Frezzeria
0412585885

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