Fans and admirers of art and culture in the Middle East have waited (im)patiently for this moment. The Abu Dhabi Louvre now has an opening date: November 11.
The Ateliers Jean Nouvel-designed building will be the first of its kind in the Middle East. Its focus will be not just art from the region, but shared human stories from across the world’s many civilizations and cultures, both old and new.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi represents the latest innovation in a long-standing tradition of cultural preservation nurtured by the founding leaders of the UAE,” said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Tourism Development & Investment Company.
Al Mubarak continued: “Louvre Abu Dhabi 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.”
The grand opening is expected to be quite an event, with concerts, performances and events scheduled to be held under the building’s 180-meter geometric dome. The dome’s construction was crafted to amaze museum goers, as sunlight will peer through the ceiling’s 8,000 motif stars to create a remarkable pattern of light on the inside.
The museum will act as a gateway to art for the region, featuring art work from ancient times as well as contemporary work. Most of the pieces of art that will be put on display in the museum are on loan from some of France’s top museums.
Some of the significant art pieces set to be put on display 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 of Bibliothèque nationale de France; a pair of gui vessels; Jacques-Louis David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps; Auguste Rodin’s Jean d’Aire from the group the Burghers of Calais; and a 13th century reliquary chest, according to a press release.
The promenade through which visitors will walk overlooks a man-made sea beneath the museum’s dome.
Aside from the art galleries, the museum will also feature a number of exhibitions, a Children’s museum, a boutique, a restaurant and a café.
Photo credit: Mohamed Somji/Abu Dhabi Louvre.