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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, visited the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island on Monday, where they viewed the museum’s art installations in preparation for its official opening on 11th November 2017.
A first of its kind in the Middle East region, with a selection of works that are of a cultural and artistic significance spanning various historical periods and human civilisations, the Louvre Abu Dhabi embodies the spirit of tolerance and intercultural dialogue, while celebrating the region’s multicultural heritage.
To date, the museum has acquired more than 620 works of art, including important artworks on loan from 13 leading museums in France within the walls of the architectural masterpiece designed as an homage to the Arab city.
Their Highnesses were received by Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, TCA Abu Dhabi, and Tourism Development and Investment Company, TDIC, and Saif Saeed Ghabash, Director-General of TCA Abu Dhabi, along with a number of officials.
During the tour, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed were briefed on a number of art works, including an ancient statue of the Sphinx dating back to the 6th century BC, funerary practices of ancient Egypt illustrated by a set sarcophagi of Princess Henuttawy, the ‘Bonifilius’ basin from Northern Italy dating between the late twelfth-early thirteenth century, 13 fragments of a frieze detailing Surah al-hashr from the Holy Quran, and the bust of Alexander the Great on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Their Highnesses were also acquainted with Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first site-specific works, installed in the outdoor areas by renowned contemporary artists, including American artist Jenny Holzer (1950 -) who created three engraved stone walls named ‘For Louvre Abu Dhabi’, 2017. These cite important historical texts from Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah, the Mesopotamian bilingual (Akkadian / Sumerian) Creation Myth tablet, and the 1588 annotated edition of Michel de Montaigne’s Les Essais.
Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by the Pritzker Prize winning French architect, Jean Nouvel, who envisioned a museum city, or Arab medina, under a vast silvery dome. Visitors will be able to walk along promenades overlooking the sea beneath the museum’s 180-metre dome, comprised of almost 8,000 unique metal stars set in a complex geometric pattern. When sunlight filters through, it creates a moving ‘rain of light’ beneath the dome, reminiscent of the overlapping palm trees in the UAE’s oases.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi will showcase its own art collection and other works of art on loan from one of France’s oldest museums. These span the entirety of human existence from prehistorical objects to commissioned contemporary artworks, highlighting universal themes and ideas and marking a departure from traditional museography that often categorises according to origin. In addition to the galleries, the museum will include exhibitions, a children’s museum, a restaurant, a boutique and a cafe.
The museum was built in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement signed between the UAE and France in 2007, that includes the loan of the Musee du Louvre’s name for 30 years and 6 months, temporary exhibitions for 15 years, and loans of artworks for 10 years.