It would be impossible to speak about The Ringling without mentioning Rubens, as his four monumental canvases from the Triumph of the Eucharist series are among the best-known works in the museum’s collection. Other paintings by Rubens purchased by museum founder John Ringling (e.g. Achilles Dipped into the River Styx, Pausias and Glycera, The Flight of Lot and his Family from Sodom), as well as subsequent acquisitions (most notably a portrait of Archduke Ferdinand), have made the museum an important site for study of the Flemish master and the Dutch and Flemish Baroque in general. Many of the principal genres are represented with works from pivotal artists of the period: a portrait of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan by Frans Hals, a still life by Jan Davidsz. de Heem, and an Italianate religious painting from Karel Dujardin. Counted alongside these highlights are a number of genre scenes, an architectural composition (van Vliet), and two Rembrandt studio paintings, which, together with a small collection of earlier examples (e.g. a triptych from the circle of van Aelst), a handful of nineteenth century historicizing paintings, and a selection of works on paper (many of them after Rubens) present a wide range of Dutch and Flemish art and make The Ringling one of the prime destinations for northern European painting in US.
Kyle Mancuso, Curatorial Fellow (February 2020)