The Louvre Abu Dhabi officially opened its doors on the 11th of November 2017 on Sadiyaat Island in the emirate of Abu Dhabi – the capital of the United Arab Emirates. What can you expect to see at the Louvre Abu Dhabi?
Background to the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The name The Louvre has actually been rented out by Abu Dhabi for a period of 30 years from the Louvre in Paris.
Is the Louvre Abu Dhabi a museum or a gallery?
I think it’s both. It calls itself a Gallery Museum. The building itself is one those iconic structures that people will definitely make time to see. Architecturally stunning in scale and detail, the roof of the Louvre is probably its most distinctive feature.
Its dome like structure seems to be made of an intricate criss cross lattice that lets in different amounts of light during the day. There also seem to be some electric lights within the roof that light up during the evening and night. This almost gives the effect of stars twinkling within the roof at night.
I particularly like how waterways have been incorporated within the building so at some level it really does seem like the whole building has been built on a promontory that’s jutting out over the water.
The exhibits at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi aims to depict the evolution of mankind through art. Expect to see sculpture, artifacts, paintings and contemporary art displayed not by country or museum of origin but by theme.
Themes seem to be designed to trace the gradual evolution of humanity, so the museum welcome leaflet actually says “Get ready to see humanity in a new light”
You’ll see art connected to ancient fertility, early tools, man’s mastery of animals, music and man’s connection to the spiritual world. So themes that connect us as humans.
Philosophical thinking is also explored via art. Can you name these philosophers and their countries of origin?
The art is drawn from the major civilizations of the world and incudes works from Egypt, India, China and Europe.
Exhibits are clearly marked in terms of name, age and where they have been loaned from originally. Some items are from the Louvre in Paris, but also from museums all over the world.
I recognized the tall thin Giacometti figures from Tate Modern that we saw this summer in London for example and there is art from the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.
There is a section of modern paintings by well known painters that will be familiar to many. So expect to see a large Whistler painting, a Mark Rothko block painting – it’s not in the usual colours of saffron and reds, but brown. There is a also a Matisse, a Derain, a Cezanne and a Monet and a Manet, all representing some of the key impressionist painters.
There are also some very contemporary installations that include a series of traditional blackened cooking pots mounted on a wall. These are from Saudi Arabia.
Guided Tours and Opening Times
The museum is open every day except Monday from 10 am till 8pm. On Thursday and Friday it’s open from 10 am till 10pm! There are also guided tours featuring:
- Masterpieces that introduces the museum’s most popular works
- Architecture that explores how local traditions influence the building
- And a Family Tour of the museum’s collection entitled My First Visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Adult entry tickets are AED 60 but the tours cost extra and last between 60 to 90 minutes.
There are 2 places to eat, a café and a restaurant but we didn’t visit either of these as we had lunch before we came at the very good 99 Sushi restaurant at the Four Seasons in Al Maryah Island. That’s an easy 15 minute drive away if there is no traffic. See below.
Is the Louvre Abu Dhabi worth a visit?
Yes absolutely, for the building and it’s contents. It’s an important and iconic gallery museum. Go while the weather is good. You may want to combine your trip to see the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabai too.
Or plan a longer trip to take in Qasr Al Sarab or Sir Baniyas Island. Both of these would be overnight trips even from Abu Dhbai itself. Closer to Dubai you could try the Eastern Mangroves hotel and spa, unusually green and the kayaking is great fun!
Note that from the 21 December – 7 April, you could
Travel back in time to seventeenth and eighteenth-century France and discover the art, ideas, people and politics behind the creation of the great Musée du Louvre in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first exhibition.
It’s just also acquired Salvatore Mundi as of December 2017.
To eat in Abu Dhabi
You may want to combine your trip with a lunch at the very good 99 Sushi restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel in Al Maryah Island, about a 15 minute drive away.
We had lunch there and we also had dinner at the very lively Peruvian restaurant Toro Toro that is located in Jumeirah Al Itihad Towers, but allow at least 25 minutes to get there from the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Thank you Monica.