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When traveling I always try to hit the nearby important spots and it just happens that The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is the state art museum of Florida and located within walking distance of the hotel we were staying at. I always like to find a tour and tag along to listen and learn. I enjoy museums as much as photo conventions and workshops, without the knowledge I get from viewing great works of art I would be just another clown with a camera.

The Museum of Art, built by John Ringling to house his personal collection of masterpieces, today features paintings and sculptures by the great Old Masters including Rubens, van Dyck, Velázquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, El Greco, Gainsborough and more. The European, American and Asian masterworks available here make the Museum of Art an awe-inspiring retreat. It is a palace for treasures emulating the footprint of Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, echoing its grace and grandeur.

In 1925, Ringling engaged architect John H. Phillips to design the museum. Construction began in 1927, but was slowed almost immediately by the collapse of Florida’s land boom and later, Wall Street’s stock market crash. Financial misfortune and Mable’s death in 1929 might have ended the dream, but John Ringling instead gained a new resolve to complete the museum, borrowing money as needed, knowing that it would perpetuate the memory of his beloved Mable.
In October 1931, “The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art” was officially opened to the public.

The Courtyard of the Museum of Art features casts of original antiquities and renaissance sculptures, including the towering David by Michelangelo. The Courtyard features two fountains - Fountain of Tortoises, one of three replicas from the Piazza Mattei in Rome, and the Oceanus Fountain, copied from the 16th century original by Giovanni Bologna in Florence’s Boboli Gardens.

The Museum and its collections continue to grow. In 2006, a combined endowment, building and collection gift from noted Asian art collector and philanthropist Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt, substantially bolstered the Ringling Musuem's Asian art initiative which aims to establish the Museum as an important venue in Florida for the study of Asian Art.

Did you know you can visit the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art free of charge? Although it is not advertised on their website, this was a stipulation of John Ringling himself - that one day a week the Museum of Art would be open to the public at no charge, that day is Mondays. All other days it costs 25 dollars to get in.

It is also a wonderful place to have your wedding reception, just email and/or visit for more info.

special note:two photos above were made with the help of TERRY GEERDTS of, Thank you Terry oxoxo