Ten years after it was first announced, Louvre Abu Dhabi is finally opening on November 11, 2017. The museum will be occupy a picturesque landscape in Saadiyat Cultural District, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates capital, overlooking the sea. Behind the massive project is Pritzker Prize-wining French architect Jean Nouvel. The massive project is part of a thirty-year agreement between the city of Abu Dhabi and the French government, aiming to bridge the gap between Eastern and Western art.
The architect says: “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. 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 represents an Arab madina (city) with its 23 permanent galleries, exhibition galleries, Children’s Museum, auditorium, restaurants, retail and a research centre. Surrounded by the sea, visitors can walk the promenades beneath the museum’s stunning dome. They can experience Nouvel’s enchanting ‘rain of light’, inspired by the shadows of overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s precious oases where travellers once crossed paths.
Highlights of the museum display is a major loan from 13 leading museums in France, among them Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452–1519) La Belle Ferronnière (on loan from musée du Louvre) and Vincent van Gogh’s (1853–1890) self-portrait (musée d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie).
The inaugural exhibition, From One Louvre to Another: opening a museum for everyone, opens on December 21. It traces the history of Musée du Louvre in Paris.
Tickets for the museum will cost 60 AED (approximately USD 16.30) for general admission and 30 AED (approximately USD 8.10) for ages between 13 and 22, as well as UAE education professionals. Free entry will apply to members of the museum’s loyalty programme, children under 13 years, ICOM or ICOMOS members, journalists, and visitors with special needs (referred to visitors with determination in the UAE) as well as their companion.
Visit louvreabudhabi.ae for more information.