Sunday in Sarasota took us, as part of Sharon’s not-so-hidden agenda, to the Ringling Museum, a complex built around Ca’ d’Zan, the 1920s home of John and Mable Ringling, of circus fame.
The house, itself, brought to mind our recent exposure to the building efforts of Florida tycoon Henry Flagler and what he earlier created on the east coast of Florida and also the Hearst Castle. Only what Ringling did was to have an Italian Renaissance palazzo built for himself and his wife rather than have something imported as Hearst and Julia Morgan did. The result is eclectic, exuberent and somewhat incoherent—but fun.
|I think these images of the house largely speak for themselves|
|No two rooms are designed in the same style. Julia Morgan would have screamed|
|Rosa tries on the lifestyle for size|
|This side, facing the bay. Ringling owned much of the land not just around the house, but on the keys opposite|
The other part of the complex that drew us was the Ringlings’ Circus Museum, which is exactly what the name suggests, another exuberant institution, but this one celebrating the work of this man who created “The Greatest Show on Earth” and brought the circus to the pinnacle of a centuries long history. Normally I don’t photograph museums, but this one begged for it, especially the cars and wagons in the back hall and Howard Tibbals’ work of a lifetime, the 3800 square foot, 44,000 piece ¾ inch to the foot scale model of the circus.
|Rosa rides the tiger|
|I found the cars and wagons in the back room most intriguing, visually|
|The Ringlings' private Pullman car that traveled as part of a mile and a half long rail entourage|
|Mural at the entrance of the new (2012) Tibbals Learning Center|
|My images do not do justice to the exuberance (that word again) of the museum|
|On the second floor, Tibbals' model astounds with its complexity and artistry|
|The Big Top|
As Sharon noted at the end of the day, I seem to have enjoyed it more than either of us would have thought.
On Monday we begin the trek home, with one final destination, a three day stay in the Ozarks beginning on the 19th.