Ringling Art Museum

I can’t get over the Ringling Art Museum. It was built by John Ringling in the 1920s and early 1930s to house his personal art collection after he finished building his mansion house.

Keep in mind that there was virtually no one living here at the time and no way to get here except by water!

Nevertheless, Ringling had the “if you build it, they will come” attitude of a true visionary. And he built it and the people did come, although it took them another 50 years or so to make it.

Here’s a view from the back of the museum. The place is huge!

Walking up the steps to the right, you get this view:

And continuing to the far end in the picture above, then turning around, here’s the view of the courtyard and the David replica that is its focal point.

The paintings inside were mostly Renaissance religious paintings and portraits, although there were also some Dutch Masters, including a Rembrandt.

The most impressive paintings were four large paintings from the 1600s that were used as templates for tapestries that still hang today in a monastery in Spain. That’s one of them on the far wall.

There were 21 galleries in all. At the time this art museum was built, it was the largest collection in the United States, south of Philadelphia. And it’s still impressive today.

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