Editors' Picks

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi


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Located on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, the new Louvre Abu Dhabi appears like a mirage in the Persian Gulf: a domed structure of intricately intertwined metalwork hovering over the water, fusing landscape and human ingenuity. The inaugural museum of Saadiyat’s blossoming cultural district, which will also house the Guggenheim and the Zayed National Museum, the building is an architectural marvel with a contemporary façade and sleek interiors that display some of the world’s most revered masterpieces. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre was inspired by traditional Arab medinas and incorporates elements like soaring white spaces, geometric angles and abundant water features.

Opened in November 2017, the striking edifice took eight years to construct and develop, all to the tune of over $1 billion. Within the striking edifice, the comprehensive collection is arranged to tell the story of human civilization through artworks. Curators grouped iconic pieces together to reveal how themes like fertility and kingship emerged at similar times in disparate societies. Groupings focus on materials and concepts but reveal the common threads in religion and reigns that have always united humanity. The museum spans over 260,000 square feet, but the network of galleries, designed chronologically, are intimately sized and light filled. The illustrious collection includes artifacts from Egypt and Mesopotamia, ancient Greece and the Aztecs among others as well as masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack and Claude Monet. It ends with a contemporary piece commissioned by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei that suggests a new Tower of Babel made of Swarovski crystals.

Half of the 600 artworks in the museum’s permanent collection are on loan from the Agence France-Musèums, which includes such institutions as the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Versailles and Musee de l’Orangerie, and the museum will additionally display four temporary exhibits per year. Younger visitors will appreciate the Louvre's children’s museum that especially caters to youngsters between the ages of six and twelve, with special displays about artistic techniques and interesting history about the museum's works. The exterior of the Louvre was dramatically composed with a manmade lagoon and is surrounded by plein air installation art. The well-shaded amphitheater also hosts outdoor performances and lectures.

Fun fact: It is possible to arrive at the museum by jet ski to a special dock.

We suggest booking a private tour as the collection is so big that having one of the institution's great guides to steer you to the masterpieces is well worth it. You can get a wonderful overview in 90 minutes but contact our team to book in advance.

Written by Kira Reinke

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