Last Friday, I went to visit the Ringling Museum of Art up in Sarasota for a museum report — an assignment for an introduction to art course that I registered to take this summer.
I have never been to an art museum before, so I was really excited and looking forward to the trip. The sheer size of the museum really surprised me! In addition to the 21 galleries of artwork, there is also an Art Library, a Circus Museum, a Learning Center, an incredible rose garden and the Ringling Mansion — all part of the 66-acre estate.
Unfortunately, due to a late arrival, I didn’t get to see the last few galleries nor the library — which I really really wanted to visit. However, this is not to say I didn’t enjoy my experience there! Quite the contrary. Thanks to the art class and this visit, I feel as if I have gained a much greater appreciation for traditional art. I have never seen so many beautiful paintings in one place before; it really was incredible.
My favorite gallery in the art museum — or rather, of the ones I saw — was the one containing Peter Paul Rubens’ The Triumph of the Eucharist Series. There were 4 magnificent wall-size paintings (roughly 18 feet by 19 feet tall!) and a beautiful tapestry, and I ended up writing about the first painting I saw in this gallery in my report, titled The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek. I don’t know much of anything about the stories in the Bible because I am not a Christian, so I had to do some research and get some help to understand the context of the painting and the story behind it.
Here is a high-quality image of the painting that I found on the National Gallery of Art’s website. If you click here, you can zoom in on the painting in much greater detail — it’s really quite incredible!
Peter Paul Rubens, The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek (1625), oil on canvas
I can definitely say that Peter Paul Rubens is one of my favorite painters of all time. I stared at his paintings for quite a long time — I even sat down on a long bench to do so because my feet got tired from standing in front of them for so long!
The Ringling Mansion was nothing short of incredible as well. The Ringlings clearly lived a rich lifestyle; their home was full of beautiful furniture and many works of art as well. It was beautiful! I do wish I could have gone to the second floor, but I hope another opportunity to visit the mansion will arise so that I may do so.
Overall, this museum trip was fantastic! I bought a book from the gift shop about all of the collections at the museum, which not only proved to be beautiful and entertaining to read, but also useful for my report. I highly recommend visiting this museum! (USF students have free admission! Woohoo!)