You’ve probably heard of the Louvre in Paris, but have you heard of the Louvre Abu Dhabi? Perhaps not – not least because it is brand new, having only opened in November 2017 as part of an expansion on Saadiyat Island.
On the island, plans are underway to build a number of stunning cultural centers. The plans, which include several museums and a performing arts space, have been drafted by some of the world’s best architects.
You might wonder why a space would take the step of naming itself after the most famous and perhaps most beloved art gallery on the planet. The reason is that the Louvre Abu Dhabi is part of a 30-year partnership with the French Government and enjoys a special relationship with the famous gallery.
There are already several astonishing works on loan from the Parisian Louvre, as well as other French galleries such as the Musee d’Orsay, and it is expected there will be many more over the years to come.
The Architecture of the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is a direct contrast to the elaborate architectural style of its Parisian cousin. So as to blend in with its ultra-modern surroundings, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is sleek and sophisticated, described as a “floating dome”.
In light of its aims to blend the East and the West, the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s French architect, Jean Nouvel, has drawn much inspiration from the Middle East. Its web-patterned ceiling allows for speckled sunshine to stream into the gallery and is said to represent sunshine peering through the leaves of a date tree. It is a truly remarkable sight and feat of engineering.
Famous Works of Art at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
While the building itself is stunning, arguably it is what is inside that is even more culturally and historically important. There are almost 8,000 square meters of galleries within the building, housing works from ancient to modern times.
Some of the most impressive artifacts are those that date back to the ancient Egyptian Empire, includes an imposing statue of Ramesses II which is decorated in hieroglyphics.
The more recent works are no less impressive, and perhaps even more culturally significant. Currently, the Museum houses a stunning selection of works of the world’s great artists, including Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait (1887) and Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferroniere (1490 – 1495).
Perhaps keeping with Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a multicultural metropolis, the exhibitions are from all over the world. Many are inspired by the world’s religions, and each tells an amazing story about the world.
Will It Be as Famous as Paris?
Whether the Louvre Abu Dhabi will ever be as famous or as widely respected as its big sister in Paris remains to be seen. But for now, it is certainly an amazing addition to this seemingly unstoppable city and a must-go destination when you make the trip to Dubai (Abu Dhabi is only an hour and a half away by car!).
*Louvre Abu Dhabi entrance tickets cost
Tickets are 63 AED (free for children under 13 years). The gallery is open seven days per week, from 10 am – 8 pm (Saturday – Wednesday) and 10 am – 10 pm (Thursday and Friday). Purchase tickets online at https://www.louvreabudhabi.ae/en/buy-ticket