Most of you will have seen a picture of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. This familiar painting hangs in the halls of a famous art museum, The Louvre. The Louvre is in Paris, France. It is the largest museum in the world and attracts millions of visitors every year.
In 2007, ten years ago, French officials made a deal to create another Louvre in the city of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The French not only agreed to lend their name to a museum in Abu Dhabi but to provide art expertise and loan art pieces to it.
Why would they do that? Well the French were paid a good packet (almost $1 billion) to lend them the prestigious Louvre brand name, art expertise and art. Everything has a price!
The officials of Abu Dhabi want to develop it into an international cultural destination that will attract more tourists to their city. They plan to build a performing arts complex and the Louvre Abu Dhabi is just one of three stunning museums.
The museum was inaugurated on 8 November, 2017 and is located on an island named Saadiyat Island. Visitors can drive to the new Louvre from the mainland, but VIP guests will have the option to cruise up to the museum in a boat.
The museum is a work of art itself. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is designed by the prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel. The enormous dome shaped roof sits atop 55 different buildings and weighs 7,500 tons—almost as much as the Eiffel Tower.
The museum’s dome is made up of 7,800 geometrical shapes of varying sizes and angles that filter sunshine in a manner that Jean Nouvel describes as a ‘rain of light’. It’s the star feature of the architectural design.
Of course, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has amazing art inside too. The museum is home to a collection of more than 600 diverse artworks, 300 of which are on loan from France. The curators have pulled together a collection that it quite jaw dropping
It’s got paintings by some of history’s most famous artists.
- Whistler’s Mother, James McNeill Whistler, 1871
- Self-portrait, Vincent Van Gogh, 1887,
- Children Wrestling, Paul Gauguin, Pont-Aven, France, 1888
- La Belle Ferronniè, Leonardo da Vinci, 1495-1499
- Portrait of Fayoum, Egypt, Antinoopolis, 225-250 AD