Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ringling Museum

Yesterday Sparky and I went to his parents' rental house to pick them up on our way to the Ringling Museum. On Monday people can go through the museum for free, so we did! Let me tell you, John Ringling had an art collection to rival many other museums. It was incredible to think that all of the art in the building was collected by one individual, just because he could. The museum itself was built specifically to hold the pieces of art that he had. Wow. The man even bought two entire rooms from a house that was scheduled to be demolished in New York. I didn't know you could buy rooms from a house. Apparently you can. He had the walls disassembled and reassembled inside his museum.

He also went to an auction that was held at the Metropolitian Museum of Art, where they were having an antiquity auction. Mr. Ringling walked into the room and said, "I'll take it all." Who does that?
This is Sparky's favorite painting. He said that this is what he feels like after work:

The museum is shaped like a horse shoe. In the center there is a garden that Mrs. Ringling created to look like gardens in Italy. She even had an exact replica of Michelangelo's "David" made using the lost wax technique. Here is Sparky posing with David:

Sparky's knee was really starting to bother him from all of the walking so we rested and looked at the beautiful view.

 Isn't the top of this gazebo pretty? I love it.

As we began walking toward the Mr. Ringling's mansion, we passed a large Banyan tree with this sign:

And these idiots. The photo is not clear because I had to take it quickly. I was being rather loud while reading the sign to all the morons around me and my traveling companions were leaving me. Yes, he is swinging on the tree.

 This is the front of the Ringling mansion from the grounds. It is pretty impressive.

Sparky and I were being cheap so we didn't go through the mansion or the circus museum. I have been through both before and the house is kinda gaudy in its decor and the circus museum is very small for the price of the ticket. But, you don't have to pay to peek though the windows and hang out outside of the house. So we did. :o) This is the back of the house, the view from the ocean.

 In this photo you can kinda see the pattern created on the ground with the various types of stone. You can also see where people could pull up to the house with their boats. There were some really nice steps people could use to get from their boat to the dock. In the jacket in the foreground is Pam, in the orange in the background is Keith (Sparky's mom and dad).

Pam found this garden (it is secret, read the sign) when wondering the grounds one day. What is even more impressive is that she found the graves of the Ringling family back here in this secret garden.

Here is Sparky with his parents in the secret garden:

We found another part of the banyan tree, where people were not swinging, to take a few pictures.

I think the tree is so cool how it pops up randomly and then sends down root shoots to expand itself. One of the problems with a tree that expands exponentially is that you never know where it is going to send down its next roots. Unfortunately for this statue, the tree picked the very spot it was resting. The poor statue looks like it is being strangled. If you look closely, you can see that the tree is actually shaped around the statues little fingers and face.

Who says you can't have fun for free?

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