Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Catholic Treasures at The Ringling Museum of Art

If you ever visit Sarasota, Florida, there are two places you have to visit. The first is the Chapel of Christ the King, and the second one is the Ringling Museum of Art. I have had the pleasure of visiting the museum many times now, and I finally got around to taking some pictures. I took a visiting seminarian to the museum to show him some of the wonderful pieces of Catholic art that they have. The first room that you walk into really gets your attention. They contain the huge works from "The Triumph of the Eucharist", painted by Peter Paul Rubens. They are huge cartoons painted for the purpose of transferring the images onto giant tapestries, which eventually ended up in a Spanish monastery. I will eventually do a separate post on this cycle of paintings, since they have a lot of Church history behind them. John Ringling, though not a Catholic, spent a great deal of time in Europe, and he fell in love with European art. Thanks to his great love for the art, we now have one of the best private collections of Catholic art in the Southeast US. So, the next time you are in the area, be sure to check it out. Also, if you here on a Monday, the art museum is free. Below are a few pictures I took in the gallery.

Below: The Four Evangelists by Rubens.

Below: A close up from the Eucharistic Doctors- (Saint Jerome right, Saint Norbert left.) Rubens
Below: St. Vitus exorcising a demon from a man.
Below: 14th century Icon of the Theotokos and the Infant Jesus.
Below: Judith with the head of Holofernes. Francesco Cairo- This is one of my favorite pieces of work in the museum. The Carravagio-esque contrast gives this work a striking characteristic about it making you feel as if Judith is staring right at you from the nearby shadows.

1 comment:

Andrew W said...

When I was a college student the museum would let me in free, 7 days a week. I would spend several hours each week roaming around, taking it all in.

This collection actually played a role in my conversion to Catholicism. I was shocked to discover that the Church has been one of the greatest patrons of the arts. I found that studying the development of european art is like studying the Church herself.

I love the Rubens collection. The scale of these is impressive, and really must be experienced in person to appreciate. One thing I don't know for sure is if these were actually painted by Rubens himself, or if they were from his large studio. Ruben's maintained a studio staffed with talented artists who would collaborate on the paintings. Many works attributed to his name are the work of his studio (several artists, directed by Rubens).