More about John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
An Italian Renaissance compound in the middle of Florida built by circus moguls? The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the American dream.
The Roaring Twenties were a fun time, especially for John Ringling of Ringling Brothers Circus fame. Previously a singer and clown in the circus, by 1925 John was gracing the cover of Time Magazine and being named the 13th richest man in America. Already in possession of multiple elephants, nearly 25% of Sarasota, and a growing art collection, the only thing missing for John and his wife Mable was, you guessed it, a Venetian style palace to host their Gatsby-esque parties. Called the Ca’ d’Zan, or House of John, their starter home took two years to build and cost $1.5 million peanuts. However, a more fitting name would have been the Ca’ d’Mable because it was John's wife who supervised nearly every aspect of the production of their modest mansion, down to the mixing of terra cotta and glazing of tiles.
Not satisfied with just the house, John built a twenty-one gallery museum modeled after the Uffizi Gallery in Florence to display his growing collection of paintings and art objects, including works by Diego Velázquez, Angelica Kauffmann, and Peter Paul Rubens. The result was the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, complete with a courtyard filled with replicas of Greek and Roman sculpture, including a bronze cast of Michelangelo’s David. John opened the art museum to the public in 1931, two years after the death of his wife. When John died five years later, he left it to the people of Florida, who are the keepers of all things truly bizarre. Today, the Ca’ d’Zan and the art museum serve as one of the most impressive collections of works by Old Masters outside of Europe. They are also wonderful locations for Instagram pics and are luckily once again open to the public after some much needed restoration. In addition to those two buildings, there are also gardens, a museum dedicated to the Ringling Brothers Circus, and an 18th century Italian theater. Look out Disney World.
- “Learn More About the Ringling’s Rich History,” The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Accessed May 24, 2021. https://www.ringling.org/history-ringling
- Kruse, Michael. “John Ringling Set the Tone for the Sarasota of Today,” Sarasota Magazine. March 2015. https://www.sarasotamagazine.com/arts-and-entertainment/2015/03/john-ri…
- “Personality, May 12, 1952.” Time, Time Inc., 12 May 1952, content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,806364,00.html.
- Ringling, Alfred T. Life Story of the Ringling Brothers: Illustrated; Humorous Incidents, Thrilling Trials, Many Hardships, and Ups and Downs, Telling how the Boys Built a Circus, and Showing the True Road to Success. United States: R.R. Donnelley, 1900.
- Augustus Ringling Dead. Head of Tented Shows In America Dies in New Orleans" (PDF). The New York Times. August 19, 1907.
Here is what Wikipedia says about John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the official state art museum of Florida, located in Sarasota, Florida. It was established in 1927 as the legacy of Mable Burton Ringling and John Ringling for the people of Florida. Florida State University assumed governance of the museum in 2000.
The institution offers 21 galleries of European paintings as well as Cypriot antiquities and Asian, American, and contemporary art. The museum's art collection currently consists of more than 10,000 objects that include a variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from around the world. The most celebrated items in the museum are 16th–20th-century European paintings, including a world-renowned collection of Peter Paul Rubens paintings. Other artists represented include Benjamin West, Marcel Duchamp, Mark Kostabi, Diego Velázquez, Paolo Veronese, Rosa Bonheur, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Giuliano Finelli, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Frans Hals, Nicolas Poussin, Joseph Wright of Derby, Thomas Gainsborough, Eugène Boudin, and Benedetto Pagni.
In all, more than 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) have been added to the campus, which includes the art museum, circus museum, and Ca' d'Zan, the Ringlings' mansion, which has been restored, along with the historic Asolo Theater. New additions to the campus include the McKay Visitor's Pavilion, the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion exhibiting studio glass art, the Johnson-Blalock Education Building housing The Ringling Art Library and Cuneo Conservation Lab, the Tibbals Learning Center complete with a miniature circus, the Searing Wing, a 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) gallery for special exhibitions attached to the art museum, the Chao Center for Asian Art, and the Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art.
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