The Ringling Museum in Sarasota

If you think the Peirce-du Pont House at Longwood Gardens is impressive, you should see the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, FL. It, too, has a mansion, but with the pretentious name Cà D’Zan, which, they tell us, is Venetian slang for House of John, although here, they do not mean the biblical St. John, but John Ringling. It was his winter home along with his wife, Mabel. It looks like a house owned by a rich couple named John and Mabel.

You owe it to yourself to see it at least once in your life. Once will be enough. It is tacky beyond belief, but you will leave with no doubt Ringling was a circus man. It is the stylistic counterpoint of the tasteful Peirce–du Pont House at Longwood.

One Room of the Ringling Mansion

The decor is what I would call Fake Medieval Castle with high ceilings, tapestry, fake beams, fake torch lights. and Gothic arches, but this is only my impression, and I wouldn’t argue with another name, obscene or not.

Sorry if you already saw it and told your friends how beautiful it is.

There are plenty of art works, huge and by famous artists, but second class works. Size and fame of the artist seem to be the only criteria. For example, there is a huge painting by an artist that was painted soon after the discovery of the mathematical basis for perspective. The work shows the inside of a church with Gothic arches, and you can see through the arches to spaces behind them. It is all very detailed and carefully worked out until you get to one end and . . . Oops . . . the arch is facing the wrong way. You suddenly feel like you are looking at an Escher painting with impossible perspective.  The artist seems to have been so fascinated by the math, he forgot to look at the result.

Finish it, anyway. Some circus guy will eventually pay a fortune for it.

About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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