World Class Master Piece, Louvre Abu Dhabi will open to the public this Saturday. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first museum of its kind in the Arab region and offers a new perspective on the history of art in a globalized world.
Louvre Abu Dhabi – Fast Facts
- The iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi is a museum city of 55 buildings
- This marvelous masterpiece is located on a man-made island off the coast of Abu Dhabi
- The roof called ‘Rain of Light’ measures 590 ft in diametre, which is the same size as of the original Louvre’s Cour Carree and weighs 7,500 tons – same as the Eiffel Tower
- The design of the Dome creates a ‘shower of lights’ because of the perforated roof
- It’s architect Jean Novel was inspired by weaving palm leaves
- The futuristic Dome appears to float right above the sea
Museum City in Saadiyat Island
An iconic architectural marvel designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, it is located on the waterfront in Abu Dhabi’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island. The inaugural installation in its spacious collection galleries will present 600 works of art, half from its own holdings and half consisting of loaned works from its 13 partner museums in France.
The museum’s collection spans the history of humanity and will explore a universal narrative through artworks and artefacts from all over the world. The inaugural installation will take visitors on a chronological journey from prehistory to the present day, encompassing 12 chapters including the birth of the first villages, universal religions, cosmography, the magnificence of the royal court, and the modern world.
VIDEO: Louvre Abu Dhabi Reveals the Human Story
Here’s CNN’s Becky Anderson tweet and video report on Louvre Abu Dhabi:
— Becky Anderson (@BeckyCNN) November 9, 2017
Louvre Abu Dhabi: UAE’s Gift to the World
Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Tourism and Culture Department – Abu Dhabi, and the Tourism Development and Investment Company, TDIC, said, “The UAE is proud of our rich heritage, while also embracing progress and change. This diversity is reflected in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection, which celebrates the innate human fascination with discovery. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s gift to the world, and we look forward to welcoming our first visitors.”
Manuel Rabate, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said, “Louvre Abu Dhabi sets a benchmark for the region, attracting the next generation of talented museum professionals. It has reinvented the 18th-century premise of the universal museum for a demanding contemporary audience. The museum story transports visitors through a history of humanity illuminated by our collection of exceptional treasures.”
Commenting on behalf of Musee du Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, President-Director of Musee du Louvre and Chairman of the Scientific Board of Agence France-Museums, said, “Today is the inauguration of Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum like no other, which could be considered as the most ambitious cultural project of the early 21st century. Today, we are proud that expertise given by French museums, and the extraordinary artworks that have been gathered together, contribute to the achievement of this museum, which will amaze the world and make its mark in the history of museums.”
Jean Nouvel said, “Louvre Abu Dhabi embodies an exceptional programme in the literal sense of the word. Its dome and cupola imprint the space with the consciousness of time and of the moment through an evocative light of a spirituality that is its own.”
Jean-Francois Charnier, Scientific Director of Agence France-Museums, said, “At Louvre Abu Dhabi, works of art provide the most eloquent testimony of the course of time, enabling its visitors to look back over the ages that have fashioned the world in which they live. Encounters with artefacts of different cultures give rise to emotions and questions, making this universal museum the ideal place to embark on a global history of humanity.”
Masterpieces from around the World
Ancient masterpieces from the collection include a Bactrian Princess created in Central Asia at the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, a Grecian sphinx from the 6th century BCE and an Iranian gold bracelet in the shape of a lion. Visitors encounter works from universal religions, including sacred texts such as a leaf from the ‘Blue Quran’ and a Gothic Bible, as well as a Standing Bodhisattva from the 2nd or 3rd century and a white marble Head of Buddha from China.
Highlights from later periods include an ancient astrolabe, part of a display showing the science of cosmography, a red Chinese lacquer chest of drawers produced in France by Bernard II van Risenburgh, which shows the cross-cultural inspirations born from global trade routes, and Giovanni Bellini’s ‘Madonna and Child’, representing the emergence of religious art and iconography.
As part of the intergovernmental agreement between the UAE and France, Louvre Abu Dhabi has access to expertise and training from 17 French partner institutions. It will also benefit from the ability to borrow works of art from 13 leading French museums for 10 years, and from special exhibitions organised by these institutions for 15 years.
A series of iconic paintings captures the emergence of the modern world, including Gustave Caillebotte’s ‘Game of Bezique’, Edouard Manet’s ‘The Gypsy’, Paul Gauguin’s ‘Children Wrestling’, Osman Hamdi Bey’s ‘A Young Emir Studying’, Piet Mondrian’s ‘Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black’, René Magritte’s ‘The Subjugated Reader’ and Pablo Picasso’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’.
The National Museum of Ras al-Khaimah provides key objects including a pendant dating back to 2000-1800 BCE and a painted Neolithic vase, discovered on the 8000-year-old settlement on Marawah Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Al Ain National Museum lends an important fragment of stucco from an ancient church on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island.
A Peek inside Louvre Abu Dhabi
As part of an ongoing programme of commissions, Jenny Holzer and Giuseppe Penone have created monumental site-specific installations, exhibited under the dome in open air and embedded in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s architecture.
Highlights of objects borrowed from within the region include a prehistoric stone tool dating back to 350,000 BCE, a milestone indicating the distance from Mecca in Kufic inscriptions and a funerary stele dating back to 700–900 CE from the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, a collection of over 400 silver Dirham coins from the National Museum – Sultanate of Oman, and an 8000-year-old, two-headed figure from Jordan’s Department of Antiquities called the Ain Ghazal Statue.
The museum’s growing collection includes more than 600 important artworks and artefacts, approximately half of which will be presented for the opening year. It includes ancient archaeological finds, decorative arts, neoclassical sculptures, paintings by modern masters and contemporary installations.
The Children’s Museum at Louvre Abu Dhabi will also open to the public, and its inaugural special exhibition, ‘From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone’, opens on 21st December 2017.