UAE Focus

Louvre Abu Dhabi poised to open doors

October 2017

The Louvre Abu Dhabi museum will finally open its doors on November 11 after years of delay and a decade after its inception.

The project was launched in 2007 under an agreement between the governments of France and the UAE, and was originally scheduled for completion in 2012. However, its construction on Saadiyat Island was affected following the global financial crisis of 2008 and more recently by falling oil prices.

The museum is designed by Pritzker Prize winning French architect Jean Nouvel as a museum city under a vast silvery dome by the sea and developed by Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC).

Visitors can walk through the promenades overlooking the sea beneath the museum’s 180-m dome, comprised of almost 8,000 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.

UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan revealed the launch date at a press conference last month along with French Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen, Nouvel, Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and TDIC, and Jean-Luc Martinez, President-director of the Louvre museum and chairman of the scientific Board of Agence France-Muséums.

On display will be the museum’s important collection of artworks, artefacts, and loans from France’s top museums. These span the entirety of human existence, from prehistorical objects to commissioned contemporary artworks.

Important artworks on loan from 13 museums in France include Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière, Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait, a rare ivory saltcellar from the Benin Empire, a Globe by Vincenzo Coronelli, Jacques-Louis David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps, Auguste Rodin’s Jean d’Aire, the Apollo Belvedere statue by Primatice, and Standing Woman II by Alberto Giacometti.

In addition to the galleries, the museum will include exhibitions, a children’s museum, a restaurant, a boutique and a café.

The inter-governmental agreement includes the loan of the Musée du Louvre’s name for 30 years and 6 months, temporary exhibitions for 15 years, and loans of artworks for 10 years.

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