SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — In a converted barn near a farmhouse on Southborough's Main Street, a husband-and-wife team is bringing history to life. Warren and Lucia Prosperi are creating an intense series of murals that inject raw emotion into pivotal events in the Revolutionary War.
"The First Casualty of Bunker Hill," the first of four murals, captures the moment on Breed's Hill after Asa Pollard died after being struck by cannon fire. In the mural, expressions of the fallen's compatriots include disbelief, dread and resolve. That moment was when "people decided whether or not they were going to fight," Warren said.
The murals are the product of acting, photography and 17th-century painting techniques.
The Prosperis construct a set, populate it with props and actors, and the re-created scenes are captured in hundreds of Lucia's photographs. "My point of view is historical and psychological," she said. "You have to feel what that person is like. I have to catch that genuine moment."
Warren paints based on Lucia's photography. Together, their art becomes a statement on history.
"We want to make it so these people appear as people, not legends," Warren said. "What they did was legendary enough."
The two met 30 years ago while working at a restaurant. She was a waitress, and he was washing dishes. "We started talking about art on our first date and never stopped," Lucia said.
Warren Prosperi established himself as a portrait painter and is also known in the Boston medical community for his works that adorn Massachusetts General Hospital, among others. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, unveiled another of Warren's paintings, Museum Epiphany III, in June.
The Prosperis have lived in Southborough since 1994, when they purchased their Main Street home and converted the adjacent barn into a studio.
The second mural in the war series is now being painting. It depicts Samuel Whittemore, an 80-year-old patriot who was shot and bayoneted 13 times yet survived. The painting shows British redcoats surrounding Whittemore and details his expression at the moment he thinks he is about to die.
"He's the perfect example of personal courage," said Warren.
For more information, go to http://prosperistudio.com/.