Louvre Abu Dhabi offers a new cultural landmark for the 21st century
It is the first museum of its kind in the Arab region and offers a new perspective on the history of art housed in an iconic building designed by Jean Nouvel. One of the exceptional features of the museum’s building is the latticed dome, which is made up of 7850 aluminium stars and weighs more than 7700 tonnes.
Located on the waterfront in Abu Dhabi’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island, the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s inaugural installation presents 600 works of art, half from its own rich holdings, and half consisting of stellar works visiting from its 13 partner museums in France. The museum will also begin an ongoing programme of special exhibitions in December.
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.
Mohamed Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture & Tourism and the Tourism Development and Investment Company says the collection celebrates “the innate human fascination with discovery”.
“Each visitor will encounter extraordinary artworks and artefacts from global cultures that are both familiar and surprising. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s gift to the world, and we look forward to welcoming our first visitors.”
Manuel Rabaté, director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, says the Louvre Abu Dhabi sets a benchmark for the region.
“It has reinvented the 18th-century premise of the universal museum for a demanding contemporary audience,” he said. “In a complex multi-narrative world, these ideas are more important than ever. By exhibiting works from diverse cultures in the same space, our curation shows the interconnectedness of different ideologies, aesthetics and artistic techniques. The museum story transports visitors through a history of humanity illuminated by our collection of exceptional treasures.”
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.
In addition to its 23 permanent galleries, special exhibition space and Children’s Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi features a 270-seat auditorium, restaurant, boutique and café.