Among the many suggestions and tips to give about what to see in Abu Dhabi unique and which cannot be missed, I can’t help mention one among the most original and bold – for collocation, mean and aims – buildings I’ve ever seen in the whole Arabian Emirates.
I mean the very new Louvre Museum, better known as Louvre Abu Dhabi.
I confess to have set out on my latest journey discovering the Arabian Emirates intrigued by its history and the events which made it a “case” even before being opened and so accessible to the public.
I admit to have left with a big curiosity about it and then become fond of it so that I spent inside it several hours, bewitched by the building, the variety and the value of the works kept and even more by the message – according to me, exciting, surprising and totally open-mind – the Louvre Abu Dhabi wants to communicate to the world.
Imagine a place where artworks and symbols of the populations and religions of the world melt harmoniously in a unique big book of the human history.
Then put everything in the middle of the Arabic Peninsula, between gulf and desert, in the cultural district of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Arabian Emirates.
Something absolutely “new”, which using art as universal key opens to sharing and hope.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi was opened on November 8th, 2017 after even 10 years of “deals” with the Louvre Paris for the use of the name, projects, ideas and controversies – which have an end in themselves how it often happens.
Evidently, not everyone is ready to accept the idea of a second Louvre in the world.
A museum installation that hardly will be able to level the fame, the historic-artistic value and the charm of the Parisian original one – this is obvious – but however it deserves attention and confidence.
In the first place for its collocation – don’t forget we are in the heart of the Arabian world – and then for the concept – more time expressed by Jean Luc Martinez, president of the Louvre Abu Dhabi – to think about this place as an ideal bridge between West and East, an invisible underlying theme of unexpected artistic and cultural connections, shared values and reflexions.
Like the introduction sentence to the museum’s website says… “Louvre Abu Dhabi. See humanity in a new light.”
The boundless horizontal facility with over 50 buildings hosting it – created on purpose by the architect Jean Nouvel as a modern Medina swamped with light and reflexes – rises on the Sa’diyyat Island, cultural and artistic district of the town.
What about some numbers?
Its 25.000square meters make it the biggest museum in the whole Arabian Peninsula.
At least 600million dollars for its building, over 500million Euros in order to use – following a three-year deal with the French government – the Louvre name and almost
800 million dollars for the “first purchases” and to get artworks loans from the most important collections in the world.
“A museum is a place where one should lose one’s head.”
And it’s exactly like that how you feel in the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Like being deep in reading a giant history book.
Going through its 23 rooms is like to turn over the chapters.
An exciting journey from the first artistic manifestations of the pre-history to the Egyptian art, the Mesopotamia, the classic Greece and the imperial Rome, over the centuries arriving as far as Leonardo da Vinci, the impressionists, Picasso, the contemporary art, the wonderful Plaza under the Dome.
The room dedicated to the religions of the world, where the Christian symbols are harmoniously brought close to the Islamic and Buddhist ones, cannot be missed.
And also the second part of the exhibition path, where the bound with the Parisian Louvre becomes stronger and more evident.
Like the exposition and the attention given to “La belle Ferronnière” by Leonardo da Vinci as regards the position given to the “Gioconda” in France, the big portrait of Napoleon by Jean Louis David and the special exhibition “From one Louvre to Another” telling about life, ideas, art and people which gave origin to the first great Louvre Museum between the 17th and 18th century.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is opened 7days a week, 10am-8pm.
Parking and Wi-Fi inside the building are free.
Considering the large attendance of visitors, it is advisable to purchase the tickets online directly on the official website.
Reckon at least 2/3 hours for the visit, don’t forget that the entire architectonic building hosting the museum is itself an artwork and deserves an explorative tour.
The ticket – 63dhr, about 15euros – gives right also to gain access to the permanent expositions, to the Children Museum and to the open areas around the Dome.