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Ca’ d’Zan – Part One

June 25, 2012 No Comments by Regina

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I just got back from the Haven Conference and it was a wonderful time! Lots of bloggers, lots of information, lots of new friends. I also recently spent time at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, FL which encompasses the grand home Ca’ d’Zan in the same complex.  We recently profiled their gardens and statuaries.

Walking up to Ca' d'Zan with a pair of sphinxes leading the way.

Ca’ d’Zan is frequently described as the last of the Gilded Age Mansions built in America.  It was built in 1924 by John and Mable Ringling with architect Dwight James Baum.  It is 200 feet long and encompasses 36,000 square feet.  (You can see Mr. Ringling here in front of the home.)  It cost 1.5 million at the time and in 2002 it underwent a 6-year, 15 million dollar renovation.

The architecture is called Venetian Gothic and you can see the influence Venice had in its construction, including being right on the water (in this case, Sarasota Bay).   In the Venetian dialect, Ca’ d’Zan translates to “House of John”.

Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy by Claude Monet

Ca' d'Zan patterned after the Doge's Palace

The pavement of the terrace is both imported and domestic marble laid in a chevron pattern.

The view into Sarasota Bay

I’m going to break up the interior into several posts but here’s a peek at some special areas…

Gilded doors in the Foyer

Close-up of the gilded doors.

There are some areas that are less ornate than others.  Below is the Breakfast Room.  Great windows, no?  Also, I enjoy the colors in the room — the checkered black and white marble flooring extends quite a bit around the first floor.

Of course, the less ornate areas are far and few in between.  Gilding and ornamental artistry abound.  The paneled walnut ceilings after the painting below are in the State Dining Room.

The Game Room below is in the third floor.  The Commedia dell’ Arte-inspired mural encompasses the entire ceiling and was painted by Hungarian artist Willy Pogany.  It includes John and Mable Ringling in costume, dancing couples, figures in masks and festive gondolas representing carnival life in Venice.

This image photographed by Giovanni Lunardi.  Here’s another angle and a few close-ups.

If you’d like to see and learn more about Ca’ d’Zan, the Ringling library has an excellent article and there’s also a virtual tour.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this initial post — the remaining rooms to be covered have extraordinary decorative painting and design to share. Can’t wait to put those posts together!

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