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September 25, 2017

Inside the Opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi

By Lauren Jade Hill

By Lauren Jade Hill

Originally slated for 2012, great anticipation has surrounded the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first museum of its kind in the Arab world. Now set for November 11, 2017, the launch will be marked with an opening celebration encompassing symposiums, performances, concerts and dance as well as visual arts programs by renowned contemporary and classical artists, reflecting the Louvre’s focus on human stories across civilisations and cultures.

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel to reflect Abu Dhabi’s land and sea, and represent the city’s traditional architecture, the museum is reminiscent of an Arab medina with a silver domed roof comprising almost 8,000 unique metal stars in a geometric pattern that lets the light filter through like overlapping palm trees. Beneath this dome, promenades overlook the sea.

“After several years of studies and construction, guests will be able to enter this place of light, this revelatory meeting place of a number of planetary cultures beyond the seas and centuries,” says Nouvel, “It is an architecture that is protective of its treasures, it is a homage to the Arab city, to its poetry in geometry and light, and, under the large cupola, it is an evocation of the temporalities which inexorably punctuate the hours, days, and the passing of our lives.”

The museum will display a collection of important artworks and artefacts, along with loans from France’s top museums, which together span human existence from prehistoric objects to contemporary artworks. The exhibition spaces will then be complemented by a Children’s Museum, restaurant, boutique and café.

Important artworks on loan from leading museums in France will include paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh, while the inaugural special exhibition entitled ‘From One Louvre to Another: Opening a Museum for Everyone’ will open on December 21, 2017. Tracing the history of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, this exhibition will feature around 145 paintings, sculptures and other objects from the collections of Musée du Louvre and Château de Versailles.

The first site-specific work here will then be installed in the outdoor areas by a series of renowned contemporary artists to create interaction between the spirit of the museum and the fabric of the architecture. Manuel Rabaté, the director of Louvre Abu Dhabi says of the new arts venue: “With a unique global narrative and a vision to explore the history of art in a fresh context, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a place where visitors can come to understand their own and others’ cultures. Its ground-breaking architecture complements a presentation of exceptional treasures that represent a snapshot of humanity’s creativity, and paves the way for new discussions.”

Her Excellency Ms. Françoise Nyssen, the French Minister of Culture then explains: “This museum is one of the most ambitious cultural projects in the world, brought to light by Jean Nouvel’s exceptional architectural masterpiece. With the expertise of its cultural institutions and loans from its national collections, France is particularly proud to play a significant role in the completion and the life of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and so for several decades to come.”

Find out more about Louvre Abu Dhabi by going over to louvreabudhabi.ae.

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