The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first museum of its kind in the Arab world: a universal museum that is a cultural beacon, bringing together different cultures to shine fresh light on the shared stories of humanity. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s museum galleries tell the story of humanity through 12 inspiring chapters. Each chapter focuses on shared themes and ideas that reveal common connections throughout humanity. The works on show range from prehistoric artifacts to contemporary artworks. “
Born out of an intergovernmental agreement signed on March 6, 2007, between the United Arab Emirates and France, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first universal museum in the Arab world. The museum brings the Louvre name to Abu Dhabi and presents both ancient and contemporary works of historic, cultural, and sociological interest from around the world. The Louvre Abu Dhabi came as a result of an unprecedented initiative that laid the groundwork for a new type of cultural collaboration of unparalleled scope between two countries, centered on the creation of a national institution.
A Floating Dome of Light and Shade
Located on Saadiyat Island, Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel has designed a museum-city under a vast silvery dome. Here you can walk through the promenades overlooking the sea beneath the museum’s 180-meter diameter dome, composed of almost 8,000 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. When sunlight filters through, it creates a moving ‘rain of light’ beneath the dome, reminiscent of the overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases.
“A welcoming world serenely combining light and shadow, reflection and calm. It wishes to belong to a country, to its history, to its geography without becoming a flat translation. It also aims to emphasize the fascination generated by rare encounters.”
A Museum at The Crossroads of Civilizations
The Louvre Abu Dhabi sets out to be the focal point of a dialogue between civilizations and cultures, symbolically continuing the age-old history of the Arabian Peninsula as a land of convergence and exchange. It is essential for it to convey this spirit of openness and intercultural dialogue. Abu Dhabi’s ambition is to create a platform for education and culture.
Just like wandering the narrow streets of an Arabian medina, visitors can explore 55 detached buildings. Twenty-three of these buildings are devoted to galleries, which were inspired by the low-lying homes of the local region. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s museum galleries tell the story of humanity through 12 inspiring chapters. Each chapter focuses on shared themes and ideas that reveal common connections throughout humanity. The works on show range from prehistoric artifacts to contemporary artworks.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection began with a blank slate and is growing gradually; it comprises ancient and contemporary works from different countries. On display are some of the museum’s important collections of artworks, artifacts and loans from France’s top museums. These span the entirety of human existence: from prehistoric objects to commissioned contemporary artworks, highlighting universal themes and ideas and marking a departure from traditional museography that often separates objects from different civilizations.
Some of the exceptional works include a gold bracelet with lion figures made in Iran nearly 3,000 years ago, an Italian gold and garnet fibula (brooch) from the 5th century BC, a superb Virgin and Child by Bellini, paintings by Jordaens, Caillebotte, Manet, Gauguin, and Magritte, a paper collage by Picasso never seen in the public domain, and nine canvasses by the recently deceased American painter Cy Twombly. The collection not only includes pieces from the Middle East and the West but also works such as a Soninke/Djennenke figure from Mali, a dancing Shiva from India, and an octagonal box from China, all bringing influence from other geographical regions. The collection is multidisciplinary and spans every medium: in addition to painting, sculpture, tapestry, goldwork, paper collage, etc., the Louvre Abu Dhabi is also showing a photography collection and works from the decorative arts, such as a decanter by Christopher Dresser (Glasgow, 1834–Mulhouse, 1904).
Get ready to be transported on an unusual journey, from the early civilizations to present day. In short, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a great place well worth a visit; definitely a must see in Abu Dhabi. I spent nearly 4 hours at this astonishing place without even realizing it! The architecture at the open area is impressive with its structure, the lights and shadows, the mixture between modern building and the water; this is real art by itself and a perfect spot to take pictures for Instagram.