October 1–November 19, 2000
Curator: Elaine Gazda
Among the great masterpieces of ancient art, the Villa of the Mysteries fresco paintings have fascinated scholars and inspired visual artists with depictions of women engaged in mysterious rituals. In the 1920s University of Michigan Professor Francis Kelsey commissioned Italian artist Maria Barosso to create a nearly life-sized representation of the Villa frescoes. Exhibited here for the first time in its entirety, Barosso's work was accompanied by a rich array of ancient art and artifacts, providing a fresh look at cultic rites practiced by women in ancient Pompeii. Also included were works of contemporary art inspired by the Villa cycle, which attest to the enduring appeal of its themes and imagery.