Got plans for the weekend?
If it’s anything other than visiting the most-anticipated opening of the year, then you must be from a different planet!
The Louvre Abu Dhabi finally opens its doors on November 11, giving the public a glimpse into the history, culture and artwork of multiple civilisations from the world over. And they are doing it in typical UAE style, with a spectacular week-long series of celebrations.
An iconic architectural masterpiece designed by Jean Nouvel, it is located on the waterfront in Abu Dhabi’s cultural district on Saadiyat Island. The inaugural installation in its spacious collection galleries will present 600 works of art, half from its own rich holdings, and half consisting of stellar works visiting from its 13 partner museums in France. The museum will also begin an ongoing programme of special exhibitions in December.
Louvre Abu Dhabi is the result of a unique collaboration between Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and France.
The museum’s collection spans the history of humanity and will explore a universal narrative through artworks and artefacts from all over the world. The inaugural installation will take visitors on a chronological journey from prehistory to the present day, encompassing 12 chapters including the birth of the first villages; universal religions; cosmography; the magnificence of the royal court; and the modern world.
Nouvel has designed Louvre Abu Dhabi as a museum city (medina) which combines traditional Arabic inspiration with contemporary design and cutting-edge energy-efficient engineering. Visitors can walk along promenades overlooking the sea underneath the iconic dome, comprised of 7,850 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. When sunlight filters through, it creates a moving ‘rain of light’, reminiscent of the overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases.
At opening, 300 works from French partner museums are on display. Some highlights include Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière (musée du Louvre); Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (musée d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie); a rare ivory saltcellar from the Benin Empire (musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac); a Globe by Vincenzo Coronelli (Bibliothèque nationale de France); a pair of gui vessels (musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet); Jacques-Louis David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps (Château de Versailles); Auguste Rodin’s Jean d’Aire from the group The Burghers of Calais (musée Rodin); a 13th-century reliquary chest (musée de Cluny – musée national du Moyen Âge); a Chinese ewer of Persian shape (musée des Arts Décoratifs); a breastplate from Marmesse (musée d’archéologie nationale – Saint Germain en Laye); the sculpture Apollo Belvedere by Primatice (Château de Fontainebleau); and Standing Woman II by Alberto Giacometti (Centre Pompidou).
Additional works from regional and UAE institutions will be on view at Louvre Abu Dhabi at the time of the opening. The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah provides key objects including a pendant dating back to 2000-1800 BCE and a painted Neolithic vase, discovered on the 8000-year-old settlement on Marawah Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Al Ain National Museum lends an important fragment of stucco from an ancient church in Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island.
The museum’s doors will open to the public alongside an exciting programme of multicultural music, arts and dance performances, workshops and, on November 11, Museum Reflections (Vives Réflexions) – a spectacular light show and firework display by world-renowned Groupe F.
Running from November 11 – 14, this opening week programme was curated by Louvre Abu Dhabi in collaboration with Agence France-Muséums and Arwad Esber, Artistic and Programming Advisor.
Special ticketed headline acts during opening week include a sold-out show by French singer and rock guitarist Matthieu Chedid, known as –M– (November 11); mesmerising Malian performer Fatoumata Diawara (November 12); Lebanese jazz and world musician Ibrahim Maalouf (November 13); and the magnificent singer and dancer Totó La Momposina (November 14), whose performances are inspired by Colombian-Caribbean traditions. Admission tickets are now available for purchase online. Space is limited; to purchase tickets, please visit www.louvreabudhabi.ae.
Opening hours for the museum galleries and exhibitions are: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am – 8 pm; Thursday and Friday: 10 am – 10 pm. Last entry and purchase of tickets is 30 minutes prior to closing. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Tickets to the museum cost 60 AED for general admission and 30 AED for visitors aged 13–22, as well as UAE education professionals.
Free entry will apply to children under 13 years, ICOM or ICOMOS members, journalists and visitors with special needs as well as their companion.
Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Art Club membership programme offers a range of exciting benefits and discounts as well as the chance to become part of the museum’s vibrant cultural community.
Louvre Abu Dhabi offers a variety of guided walking tours and an audio tour through which visitors can explore the museum’s collection. Thematic walking tours are available on the museum’s masterpieces and architecture; there is also a child-friendly tour entitled A First Look at Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The audio tour of the museum is offered in Arabic, English, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish. To purchase admission tickets and tours, please visit www.louvreabudhabi.ae.
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