Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open its doors to art and culture lovers | travel | Hindustan Times
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Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open its doors to art and culture lovers

The Louvre Abu Dhabi will finally open its doors to the public in November. The museum has been a decade in the making and is opening five years behind schedule.

travel Updated: Sep 06, 2017 16:08 IST
Louve Abu Dhabi will open its doors on November 11
Louve Abu Dhabi will open its doors on November 11(AFP)

Travelling to Abu Dhabi? If you’re there post November, you’ll be able to visit Louvre Abu Dhabi and soak up on world culture.

Housing 600 works of art, including 300 loaned by 13 French museums for the inaugural year, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is described as the “first universal museum” in the Arab world. “At a time when culture is under attack... this is our joint response,” French Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen said at a news conference Wednesday in Abu Dhabi to announce the November 11 opening date.

The museum has been a decade in the making and is opening five years behind schedule. Among the works on loan to Abu Dhabi are Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronniere from the Louvre -- which houses the world’s largest collection of art -- and Vincent van Gogh’s self-portrait from the Musee d’Orsay.

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel of France, the “museum city” is reminiscent of an Arab medina, enveloped by a part arabesque, part futuristic silvery dome that lets in the light in patterns mimicking leaves of the palm trees of the Gulf.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is part of “a major cultural strategy” to promote the city as a patron of the arts in a region increasingly focused on soft power. About five percent of the overall museum will be dedicated to contemporary and modern art. The rest focuses on telling the story of world histories and religions.

In the gallery of world religions, a sixth century Koran, a gothic Bible and a Yemeni Torah face each other, open to verses that give similar accounts. “To send that message of tolerance is really important for our time,” said Mubarak.

A branch of the Guggenheim, still under development, and the Zayed Museum, the national museum named after the country’s founder, are located on the same island. The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s opening comes as the UAE, which in April announced the establishment of a Soft Power Council, is locked in a diplomatic battle with neighbouring Qatar, accused by its Gulf neighbours of supporting Islamist extremism.

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