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The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
John Ringling, one of the five original circus kings of the
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, was blessed with entrepreneurial
genius and through his success with the circus and other investments, became
quite wealthy. In 1911, John and his wife Mable purchased 20 acres of
waterfront property in Sarasota,
Florida. In 1912 the
couple began spending winters in Sarasota
and later decided to build a home there.
In the spirit of America's
wealthiest Gilded Age industrialists, John Ringling gradually acquired a significant
art collection and built a palace for his treasures in a 21-gallery Museum of Art
on his Sarasota
John Ringling bequeathed his art collection, mansion and estate to the
people of the State of Florida
at the time of his death in 1936.
Designated as the official state art museum for Florida, the
institution offers twenty-one galleries of European painting and antiquities
plus 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 sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth
century European paintings, including a world-renowned collection of Peter Paul
The grounds consist of: the Museum of Art; Circus Museums, including the world’s largest miniature circus; Cà d'Zan - the
Ringling’s mansion; Mable Ringling’s rose garden; a visitor’s pavilion and more.