31.5.10

MARBLE HOUSE TO DISPLAY GOTHIC ART COLLECTION


MARBLE HOUSE, NEWPORT, RI, OOZES LUXURIOUS DECADENCE AT EVERY CORNER, FROM THE 22 CARAT GOLD LEAF DECORATIONS TO THE CORINTHIAN COLUMNS AT THE FRONT ENTRANCE TO THE LAVISH CEILING PAINTINGS OF GREEK GODS. BUT FOR MORE THAN 80 YEARS, THE GILDED AGE MANSION HAS BEEN WITHOUT ONE OF ITS MOST TREASURED FEATURES; A VAST COLLECTION OF MORE THAN 300 OBJECTS OF MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE ART. THE WEALTHY VANDERBILT FAMILY BOUGHT THE WORKS IN PARIS AND DISPLAYED THEM FOR YEARS ON THE RED-SILK LINED WALLS OF THEIR MANSION'S APTLY NAMED GOTHIC ROOM. BUT AFTER THE HOUSE CLOSED IN 1925, THE ITEMS WERE SOLD TO ART COLLECTOR AND CIRCUS ENTREPRENEUR JOHN RINGLING AND TODAY BELONG TO A SARASOTA, FLA, MUSEUM BEARING THE RINGLING NAME. NOW NEWPORT VISITORS CAN SEE THE ITEMS IN THEIR ORIGINAL SETTING. THE JOHN AND MABLE RINGLING MUSEUM HAS LOANED THE COLLECTION TO MARBLE HOUSE THROUGH 31.OCTOBER. THE ITEMS, PAINTINGS AND SCULPTURES, BUSTS AND FURNITURE, HAVE BEEN REASSEMBLED IN THE GOTHIC ROOM AND DISPLAYED EXACTLY AS THEY WERE 100 YEARS AGO. MARBLE HOUSE IS AMONG THE MOST POPULAR OF NEWPORT'S MANSIONS, PALATIAL SUMMER HOMES BUILT FOR WEALTHY INDUSTRIALISTS IN THE LATE 19th CENTURY THAT TODAY RANK AMONG NEW ENGLAND'S MOST-VISITED ATTRACTIONS. INSPIRED BY GREEK ARCHITECTURE AND THE PETIT TRIANON AT VERSAILLES, THE HOME WAS COMPLETED IN 1892 FOR RAILROAD HEIR WILLIAM K VANDERBILT AND HIS WIFE, ALVA, A LOVER OF ART AND CULTURE WHO COLLECTED RENAISSANCE ART AT A TIME WHEN NOT MANY OTHER AMERICANS DID.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT www.newportmansions.org

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