Home » international news » Wait, what?! There is a Louvre in Abu Dhabi? You bet!
 

Wait, what?! There is a Louvre in Abu Dhabi? You bet!

Priyanka Chharia | Updated on: 8 November 2017, 18:07 IST

Almost thirty years ago, a pathbreaking deal between the French government and the Abu Dhabi city agreed to set up a one-of-a-kind “universal museum in the Arab world.” Additionally, a cultural city called Saadiyat Island was envisaged that was to house not only the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but also Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and a performing arts centre by Zada Hadid.

Despite the fact that such an ambitious plan did not pan out as imagined, the Abu Dhabi Department of Cultural and Tourism has finally managed to schedule the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi on 11 November, 2017.

A picture shows part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum designed by French architect Jean Nouvel during a media tour prior to the official opening of the museum on Saadiyat island. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

“The priority is to invest heavily in education and culture,” said Zaki Nusseibeh, Abu Dhabi’s state minister, in an interview with the New York Times.

“This has become more important because of what happened with the radicalisation of groups that have kidnapped Islam for their own political purposes. It is against everything that this country stands for.”

Women visit a room at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum during a media tour prior to the official opening of the museum on Saadiyat island. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum looks like a seemingly floating structure located on Dubai's Sadiyat Island. It is spread over a whopping 24,000 square metres and includes 55 white buildings that are meant to resemble conventional Arabic medinas.

The 180 metre-wide (diameter) web-patterned dome is by far the most visually appealing element of the museum, and resembles inter-woven palm leaves. It covers nearly two-thirds of the museum.

With the construction costs alone estimated at over 100 million euros, the Louvre Abu Dhabi project has have been a considerably expensive affair.

“I wanted to create a neighbourhood of art, rather than a building,” said Nouvel, who has managed to successfully bridge the gap between cultures by incorporating different architectural elements within the museum.

A cleaner mops the floor next to the painting titled "Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, Crossing the Alps" by French artist Jacques-Louis David at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum during a media tour. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

The museum houses 600 artworks from all over the world, including 300 pieces that have been loaned by 13 French museums as per the agreement. Van Gogh, Monet, Jackson Pollock, Paul Gauguin and Cy Twombly are some of the artists whose original works are currently on display at the museum.

In addition, the museum houses rare artworks including a sixth century Buddha from Northern China, Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna and Child dating to the fifteenth century, a Gothic bible, a leaf from the sixth century Quaran, and a Yemeni Torah.

Here are a few photos from the soon-to-be-opened museum.

A general view shows a room at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum during a media tour. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
Women walk past the medieval "Tapestry of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar" displayed at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
A statue of Roman general and statesman Julius Casear (101-44 BC) is seen on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. (GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
A woman poses in front of a part of a series of nine panels titled "Untitled I-IX" by American painter Cy Twembly at the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.
First published: 8 November 2017, 18:07 IST
 
NEXT STORY