Our travels bring us to unexpected places of wonder.
After visiting a boat for sale in Marco Island, Florida, we headed towards Sarasota.
It was Monday and “The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art”, the Number One Must See Attraction in this area, has free admission on Mondays. We spend 4-5 hours in the Museum of Art and its gardens, 66 acres of waterfront property.
The museum, built by John Ringling, opened in 1931. It houses his personal collection of about 14 000 masterpieces, including paintings and sculptures by the Old Masters like Rubens, van Dyck, Velázquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, El Greco, Gainsborough and more; European, American and Asian works. It is truly impressive.
But for me, the most emotional moment was entering the newest gallery featuring the Coville Collection of 90 photographs of the 20th century and beyond focused on photojournalism.
A quote by Susan Sontag is the first thing you see as you enter the gallery:
All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by sharing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.
— Susan Sontag
The earliest photograph in the collection dates from 1888: the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and the latest is of the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
There I found iconic images that I have only seen before in my Art History books. Images by Margaret Bourke White, Edward Steichen, Julia Margaret Cameron, Louis Wickes Hine, Ansel Adams, Andre Kertesz, Edward Weston, and others.
Next, we marveled at the exquisite Ca’d’Zan mansion and its Venetian Gothic architecture. We will have to return to look at the mansion inside as well as at the Museum of Circus. One day is not enough.
Our Monday finished with a walk in a park in Sarasota looking for a restroom for Maya. It was dark, about 7:00 p.m., when we entered the Sarasota Art Center as it was still open and there was a restroom for Maya!
And we ended up looking at some more contemporary local art. Surprisingly, the collection impressed me, there were many truly amazing paintings and photographs.
But this was not all! As we were ready to go, people started coming in. It turned out, there was a Flamenco Evening event, free admission, and we decided to stay! In the center of the gallery, surrounded by artworks, two classic-flamenco guitarists, two singers, a guy and a woman, and a male dancer, performed for us and a crowd of older Sarasota citizens, the most wonderful music from Spain. Viktor and Maya were both so impressed, more than by the Ringling Museum.
As the music- the magic- ended, there was vino and cheese, and a wonderful memory.
Te Quiero Verde.
For more information about the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida, visit
More photos from Sarasota, Ringling Museum of Art