THE VENETIAN COLOMBINA; HISTORY.
The only female mask to impose itself in the midst of so many male characters is Colombina, a lively and crafty servant.
She is lively, pretty, a liar and she is from Venice. She is very fond of her lady, equally young and pretty, Rosaura, and in order to make her happy she is willing to combine cheating on cheating. She doesn't get along well with the old and grumpy bosses and slaps mercilessly those who dare to bother her by disrespecting her.
Colombina's mask is the evolution of a character from the Commedia dell 'Arte: the Maid. This, before becoming more and more graceful parts, passing from the crude pimp of the sixteenth-century comedy to the polite advisor of the eighteenth century, had been the life and fortune companion of the jester, when, in certain representations, he went out on the stage or in the circle of
spectators, to act with him. The Fantesca is originally old, she appears bent and wrinkled while carrying a letter, from her mistress, generically marked by a heart pierced by an arrow. Over time she wakes up, rejuvenates, becomes bustier and becomes the Zagna, the companion of the Zanni (servant). It is from this last transformation that the character of Colombina is born, who organizes burlesque love scenes every time the Lovers bring their sighs to the scene.
Colombina is also a very ancient mask, her figure was already mentioned in 1530 in the texts of the Intronati Academics of Siena. "Colombina" is also the title of a play by Virgilio Verucci that was published in 1628. The mask of Colombina can be found already in the comedies of Plautus, among the crafty, cynical and flattering handmaids, always ready to suggest tricks and tricks to the mistress. From an ancient slave Colombina in the 1500s became the accomplice Servetta interested in the domestic and amorous subterfuges of the mistress.
The name of Colombina appears for the first time in the Company of the Intronati around 1530 and was made official shortly after when Isabella Franchini, the famous actress who played her, carried under her arm a basket in which two doves could be seen. Colombina prevailed only in the seventeenth century in the Parisian theater. The name Colombina is mentioned in the text: Cicalamento in ridiculous songs, or true Treatise on marriage between Buffetto, and Colombina comici (1646) written by the famous Buffetto, Carlo Cantù.
Colombina's costume came with countless variations: usually she does not wear a mask and wears a tight bodice and a wide blue flounced skirt. Her red jacket is trimmed with trimmings in the same color as the skirt and her apron, with pockets to put love messages in, is pure white. On his head he wears a "crestina", the waiter's typical handkerchief, held up by a ribbon. The simple but pretty black shoes have a low heel and a blue bow on the buckle.
THE FURBISH AND MALICIOUS SERVANT
Colombina plays the comic type of the pretty servant. She is seductive, astute, very lively and is the perfectly mirror image of Arlecchino. This is why she is always the Amorosa or Arlecchino's wife, assuming the name of Betta, Franceschina. Diamantina, Marinetta, Violetta, Corallina or even Arlecchina. In the representations he is often the object of attention from the master Pantalone, which causes jealousy in Arlecchino.
Colombina is very vain and a little flirtatious and is keen to always look tidy and attractive. He doesn't mince words and manages to fix some suitors who don't behave more than politely. Even her eternal boyfriend, Arlecchino, has to be careful, if he tries to be cheesy with some other colleague of his, because she knows how to make it go straight.
Her way of doing, so lively and mischievous, hides a strong-willed character and a natural cunning that make Colombina a pleasantly jaunty character, much loved by the public.
Colombina, a naturally liar, always uses lies for a good purpose to cover up the loves of her mistress, continually hindered by a gruff and severe father. Master in hiding a love note under the apron or in the chest, she shows her greatest skill whenever she has to deliver these missives into the hands of the mistress without an unwanted lover or suspicious parent noticing. She is an intelligent woman who realizes that she lives in a society made for men where, in order to survive, she must use cunning and sensitivity. Maybe that's also why we like her so much.