Abu Dhabi – with a population of just over 1-million, the city looks much larger than it feels. In a city that didn’t exist 50-years ago, everything is built with intention from its Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque to Yas Island with Formula 1 circuit – in Abu Dhabi it is only built if it can be the grandest thing you will see which made the city motived for a Louvre of its own.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, the first universal museum in the Arab world, finally opened its doors to the public on November 11th after much anticipation.
It is an ambitious development with the iconic French museum agreeing to lend its name to a United Arab Emirates project worth in excess of $1 billion.
The opening ceremony included a variety of traditional performances such as the ‘Al Ayyala,’ by Mubarak Al Otaiba’s group, giving a special taste of the nation’s unique culture; a Dogon masked dance by Awa Troupe of Sangha and Chinese parade of lions and dragons.
While some may lesson the merit of a museum that was essentially bought through a sovereign wealth fund, the opening is a boon to Middle Eastern art. The museum is designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, who creates a world wonder-worthy space with iconic dome hovering over a landscape of reflection pools and stark white silhouettes in a very much Middle Eastern fashion. Inside, the collection includes pieces such as 9th-century Quran in Kufic script, “Madonna and Child” by Giovanni Bellini, loaned masterpieces from 13 French museums, Leonardo da Vinci’s “La Belle Ferronniere” and an 1887 self-portrait by Van Gogh – just to name a few.
Visit Abu Dhabi Louvre: https://www.louvreabudhabi.ae/