Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first museum of its kind in the Arab world: a universal museum that focuses on shared human stories across civilizations and cultures. It was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel in the shape of a museum city (Arab medina) under a vast silvery dome. It opened its doors in November 2017.
Louvre Abu Dhabi is a spectacular museum where visitors can walk through the promenades, overlooking the sea, beneath the museum’s 180-metre dome, comprised 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.
On display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
On display will be the museum’s important collection of artworks, artifacts, and loans from France’s top museums. These span the entirety of human existence: from pre-historical objects to commissioned contemporary artworks, highlighting universal themes and ideas, and marking a departure from traditional museography that often separates according to origin.
In addition to the galleries, the museum will include exhibitions, a Children’s Museum, a restaurant, a boutique, and a café.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi embodies our belief that nations thrive on diversity and acceptance, with a curatorial narrative that emphasizes how interconnected the world has always been. The museum represents the latest innovation in a long-standing tradition of cultural preservation nurtured by the founding leaders of the UAE. The museum forms one element of Abu Dhabi’s cultural strategy, which safeguards our rich heritage and catalyses creativity. Investment in a vibrant cultural ecosystem supports the UAE’s economic diversification and development as a modern, dynamic society. Louvre Abu Dhabi will inspire a new generation of cultural leaders and creative thinkers to contribute to our rapidly-changing and tolerant nation,” according to His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and Tourism Development & Investment Company.
The story of the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s story begins in the ‘Great Vestibule’, where visitors are introduced to important themes such as maternity and funerary rituals. A gallery dedicated to universal religions features sacred texts: A Leaf from the ‘Blue Quran’, a Gothic Bible, a Pentateuch and texts from Buddhism and Taoism.
The artistic exchanges on the trading routes during the Medieval and Modern periods are brought to the fore through an important number of ceramic works.
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first site-specific works are by renowned contemporary artists and interact with the spirit of the museum and the fabric of the architecture.
Photos by Mohamed Somji
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