WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 77 of 211

absence. Did he do it to honor outstanding members of the profession? Or perhaps to pump up the importance of the work? Whatever the rea- son, the inaccuracies troubled present-day physicians enough that they thought it worth setting the record straight with a new painting. "The MGH service chiefs wanted to commemorate Ether Day in a special and highly visible way," Marcella says. "In 2000, they commis- sioned painters Warren Prosperi and Lucia Prosperi [Warren's collabo- rator and wife] to paint a 'moment in time' depiction of the first successful surgical operation under anesthesia." The Paintings: Warren and Lucia Prosperi Warren Prosperi is a self-taught painter, who moved from his native Florida to Boston seeking to establish a career. A proverbial "starving artist," for several years he mopped floors at the Blue Parrot Restaurant in Harvard Square in the mornings, then hurried to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the afternoons to copy the old masters. Prosperi credits Rubens's sketches with teaching him how to use paint and with launching him as a portrait artist. With the completion of several dozen portraits of MGH physicians, six murals at the Joslin Diabetes Center, a thriving studio, and the partnership of Lucia— who shares with him in the creative vision and execution of every work — he, with Lucia, was ready to take on the considerable challenge pre- sented by the MGH chiefs of service. As if warned of the pitfalls by the Dickensian ghost of their prede- cessor, Robert C. Hinckley, the Prosperis went to extreme measures to assure the accuracy of their portrait of Ether Day. They staged a re- enactment of Morton's demonstration in the still-existing Ether Dome in the hospital's Bulfinch Building. They chose 20 MGH surgeons and Dr. William T. G. Morton Ether Day 1846 Warren and Lucia Prosperi / 8' x 6' / Oil on canvas 76 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 6 C O U R T E S Y O F M A S S A C H U S E T T S G E N E R A L H O S P I T A L

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