Barosso Watercolor Conservation Project


In 2008, the Kelsey Museum received a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to conserve one of its most valued treasures: the Barossso watercolors. These watercolors, which are now on display in the Upjohn Exhibit Wing, are an artist’s illustration of the famous fresco cycle in Room 5 of the Villa of Mysteries in Pompeii, Italy. They were commissioned by Francis W. Kelsey, the Museum’s namesake, who envisioned displaying them as a way of teaching about the ancient world. The watercolors were painted by Italian artist Maria Barosso in the mid 1920s, soon after the Villa’s discovery. Visitors to the Kelsey Museum can view them in a special room that recreates Room 5 of the Villa.

The watercolors are rare, beautiful works of art, and the conservation project to preserve them was an impressive multidisciplinary effort involving specialists in conservation, science, education, art history, and archaeology.

To learn more about the watercolors and their conservation, you can view:

For Teachers
This presentation may be especially interesting for science, social studies, and Latin classes.

For further information about the Barosso watercolors, or to arrange a special tour featuring them, please contact the Public Programs Office at 734.647.4167.