Louvre Abu Dhabi: A New Museum for the Arab World


Abu Dhabi's new Louvre Museum melds together a world of cultures

By Jackie Cohen

Everybody knows the beauty of the Louvre in Paris, France, a landmark of the city since all the way back to 1793. There is also a second Louvre in northern France, called the Louvre-Lens.

Interior view of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Photo from the museum's website.
Interior view of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Photo from the museum's website.

But in 2017 the new Louvre opened in Abu Dhabi in November 2017.  Born from an intergovernmental agreement in March 2007 by representatives of Abu Dhabi and France, the Louvre Abu Dhabi links the east and west together through a collaborative love of historic and modern art and culture.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, a universal museum, is a true collaboration of France and Arab cultures. According to their website, the museum “is intended to be a place of discovery, exchange, and education.”

The first of its kind

Giovanni Bellini, Madonna, and Child, between 1480 and 1485. Photo: courtesy of the Louvre Abu Dhabi
Giovanni Bellini, Madonna, and Child, between 1480 and 1485. Photo: courtesy of the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Art lovers will be able to bask in the culture, architecture, and artifacts like no museum before its kind. Louvre Abu Dhabi, upon opening, is now home to fine arts, decorative arts, and other objects from various field of archaeology, representing art history of different regions and periods, to contemporary art styles.

After the museum's first plans in its multiple stages of development has been accepting artwork and collections as loans from the French museums during the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first ten years of servicing the community, and museum-goers from across the globe.

Louvre Abu Dhabi will only expand through the enrichment of cultures through the growth of exhibits and collections, coming from locations such as France.

Not only will the museum itself be home to magnificent, one of a kind artwork, but the architectural design of the museum will be something for museum-goers to gawk at.

RELATED  Visiting Iran: Ancient Cities and Natural Wonders
The first large-scale presentation of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection, Birth of a Museum. Photo from the museum's website.
The first large-scale presentation of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection, Birth of a Museum.

Ten years in the making

The Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel designed the building that reflects modern architecture as well as traditional aspects of the Arab world that bring cultures together. Nouvel said, “I wanted this building to mirror a protected territory that belongs to the Arab world and this geography.”

Louvre Abu Dhabi stands on the Saadiyat Island with two-thirds of the museum covered by a white dome of 590 feet, according to their website. It has a children’s museum, friendly for all types of families, a cafe, restaurants, and gardens. Take in the culture and enjoy all the attractions the museum has to offer. As the inaugural year of the Louvre Abu Dhabi,  2017 proved successful for the collaboration.

A cultural cornerstone

As a cohesion of customs where Eastern cultures and style meld into western ones, the Emirates’ goal was to promote their capital as an acceptable international city with a new, civilization-mashing museum to welcome masses. City officials in Abu Dhabi are anticipating great success with the museum and preparing for even bigger and better things in the near and far future.

Attributed to Orazio Scoppa, Mother-of-pearl ewer, Gujarat, India, c. 1640.  
Attributed to Orazio Scoppa, Mother-of-pearl ewer, Gujarat, India, c. 1640.

Mohamed Khalifa al-Mubarak, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, and a Northeastern University graduate in economics and political science, anticipates a domino effect, pushing the government to commence other long-planned construction on other cultural projects around the city, such as the Guggenheim's planned sister-museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

An impressive collection of worldly masterpieces

With the primary goal of creating a universal environment for collaborate sharing through the creation of human connections via art, dating from prehistoric times until today, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has a tough act to follow behind its predecessor in Paris.

RELATED  Dubai - Destination Mini Guide

However, some critics of the newly-opened institution argue it's reaching far beyond their leader in France. With such a prestigious name, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is borrowing a rotating selection of artwork from a variety of French museums, including its namesake, valuing approximately $1 billion upon opening.

René Magritte, The Subjugated Reader, 1928
René Magritte, The Subjugated Reader, 1928

As the first of it's kind in the Arab world, Louvre Abu Dhabi separates itself from its Parisian counterpart by "seeing humanity in a new light". With a universal perspective on arts and culture, the building itself, designed and created by a large team of architects and artists, boasts one of the most diverse collections of any museum.

A triumph and tribute to modern engineering, the roof of the new museum is made up of  7,850 aluminum stars weighing in at over 14,000 pounds.

With such a diverse array of artwork, incredible structure, and a true example of international collaboration and diplomacy, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a perfect showing of the power of unity held through art.

The Arab world now has its own powerhouse of art, the most impressive collection of global works under one roof.

Jackie Cohen

Jackie Cohen is an avid globetrotter, in constant search for new obscure destinations and adventures. With a special interest in sustainable tourism practices, she’s traveled around the world to North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Southeast Asia, and across Europe-always looking for local cuisine, hidden surprises, and lessons in different cultures. She’s from Beverly, MA.