Thursday, December 14, 2017

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art & Muse

The Ringling Museum of Art was established in 1927 as the legacy of Mable and John Ringling for the people of Florida, and includes the art museum, circus museum, and Ca' d'Zan, the Ringlings' mansion, which has been restored, along with the historic Asolo Theater, is one of the Gulf Coast’s premier attractions and incorporates their personal collection of art in what is now Florida’s state art museum. Nearby, Ringling’s Circus Museum documents his theatrical successes, while their lavish Venetian Gothic home, Cà d’Zan, reveals the impresario’s extravagant tastes. The Ringlings aspired to become serious art connoisseurs, and they amassed an impressive collection of 14th to 18th-century European tapestries and paintings. 

Opened in 2016, the newest wing contains historical and contemporary Asian art including diverse objects from a broad range of Asian cultures, such as stone Buddhist sculpture from Gandhara, crossroads of the ancient world’s Silk Road; Chinese ceramics from all periods of China’s history; Japanese woodblock prints, both traditional ukiyo-e as well as twentieth century prints; Vietnamese, Thai and Korean ceramics; and objects representing Turkomen tribes and various periods in Indian culture. The beautifully crafted wing façade features an extraordinary overlay of jade green glazed terra cotta panels, designed by boston-based architects Machado Silvetti. 

Helga Wall-Apelt, whose multimillion dollar gift spurred the creation of The Ringling Museum's new Asian wing, has had a lifelong passion for Asian culture and collection. The new wing houses not only Wall-Apelt’s collection of jades, furniture and sculpture but the museum’s Koger collection as well, which consists of about 1,000 Chinese ceramic pieces dating from more than four millennia and assembled over 40 years by Ira and Nancy Koger, with a strong emphasis on blanc-de-chine white china. Overlooking the outdoor ponds and gardens beside the new wing are Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads, twelve bronze animal heads which represent the traditional Chinese zodiac that once adorned the famed fountain clock of the Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing.

Entrance to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

The beautiful new Asian Art wing of the Ringling with glazed terracotta tile exterior

The William and Marie Selby Foundation Grand Hall in the Asian Wing

The Chinese Gallery

Qing Dynasty 'Blanc de Chine' fine porcelain lion from the 17th century

Tang Dynasty Guardian Warrior from the 8th century

Head of a Bodhisattva from China during the Northern Wei dynasty, around 4th-5th century

Chinese Qing Dynasty porcelain vase with dragon handles

Tang Dynasty glazed earthenware Saddled Horse from the 8th century

Edo Period lacquered wood Noh Mask from the 17th century

Japanese ink on paper - Ginsa Geishas by Kunichika Toyoharas from 1871

Japanese Edo Period ivory Netsuke, a small carved toggle that attaches to the sash of a kimono

Turkish Iznik plate with grape leaves from the 16th century

Persian-style panel from one of the surviving garden wall tiles of the demolished Ringling Towers  of El Vernona, from the 19th century

Chromogenic colour print by Chinese born Li Wei entitled 'Mirror: The Ringling'

Ai Weiwei installation of twelve bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac, as viewed from the Asian Wing

Ai Weiwei Dragon

The Ringling garden pond beside the Asian wing

Florida Great Blue Heron on the bank of the pond

White Egret

The entrance to Muse at the Ringling

Overlooking the pond by the Circus Museum from the outdoor terrace of Muse 

A glass of Mionetto Prosecco before lunch

Seared Faroe Island Salmon Salad with artisan greens, broccolini, shaved cauliflower and organic tomato vinaigrette

Crab Cakes with raw rainbow vegetable slaw and lemon aioli

Caesar’s Deviled Eggs
Makes 12 eggs
Recipe courtesy of Chef Francis Casciato, Muse

6 large whole eggs, hard cooked, peeled
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp brown anchovy
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
6 cloves roasted garlic
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 head of romaine lettuce, sliced into thin ribbons, for garnish
Garlic croutons, crushed, for garnish

Trim a very small slice off of the tips of the egg, cut the egg in half in a north and south direction. They should stand flat on the trimmed ends, like little cups. Remove the yellow yolks, then gently grate them on a microplane into the mixing bowl. Combine the garlic, anchovy, vinegar, lemon juice, Tabasco, Worcestershire, Dijon mustard and Parmesan cheese in a food processor, then puree till smooth.  Gently fold the mayonnaise into the shaved yolks and mix just to combine. Fold in the anchovy puree, then set mixture aside to refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Reserve a half-cup of the filling that will be used for the presentation.

To assemble, scoop a 1 tablespoon of the yolk mix into each egg white. Spread a thin line of the leftover filling across a serving platter from one end to the other. Place the eggs on the line about half an inch apart. Top each egg with a pinch of the romaine ribbons. Sprinkle the eggs and the plate with crushed croutons. Serve and enjoy.

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