Wednesday, 15 November 2017

The Louvre of desert and light

Today I did my first (I say first, because I can see myself return over and over again!) visit to the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi.

As the school conferences are stretching over two days, the kids were off school today as well, so I thought I'd take them for a bit of cultural education. They did enjoy when we visited Louvre in Paris a few years ago, and also I wanted them to be part of history this very special opening week here in the capital. Linnea brought her friends A & D, and off we went.

After almost a decade of preparation, the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi has been highly anticipated. This is the first universal museum in the Arab World, with quite a unique approach to the history of art, and humanity.
I was surprised to see there was plenty of space in the car park and no queues at all, neither through the security screening nor by the ticket counter. 

A walk through the 12 galleries guide you through different periods in history by exploring our common humanity. It is done through the display of similar objects from different cultures and civilizations, emphasizing our shared human experience. The galleries are arranged both chronologically and thematically.
There are a huge amount of significant pieces on display, around 600 works of art. Half of them belong to the permanent exhibition, and half are on loan for temporary display.

We advanced pretty quickly through the first couple of galleries. I didn't mind too much, I knew I'll be back, and the kids wanted to see the paintings and sculptures they knew of; so we didn't linger too long at galleries with the most ancient times.

One of the masterpieces of the museum: "La Belle Ferronnière". It is the first painting by Leonardo da Vinci to be shown in the Middle East, expected to be on display here for the next year:

 The Horses of the Sun:

In this next gallery alone, you could find Manet, Monet, Degas, Whistler, Cezanne and many more. Lucas was impressed to see the size of "Whistler's Mother", a painting he had studied at school.
Several major French museums, such as the original Louvre, Musée Rodin, Château de Versailles, Musée d'Orsay and Centre Pompidou just to name a few, have lent artworks to the Louvre Abu Dhabi; both to form the permanent collection and for this opening exhibit, called "From one Louvre to Another". There will be four temporary exhibitions a year.

A selfie with a "selfie" by Van Gogh.

Sculptures by Edgar Degas:

The iconic painting "La Gare Saint-Lazare" by Claude Monet. "My" old commuting train station when I lived in Asnières during my year as an Au Pair. Also a painting I used to talk about when I did the excursion to Giverny (Monet's garden) during my years as a tour guide in Paris.

Sculpture by Giacometti:

Gallery 11 - Challenging Modernity.
Here we found art by Picasso, Pollock and Rothko - and the first piece the museum acquired, the 1922 painting by Piet Mondrian "Composition with Blue, Red, Yellow and Black".

Not a great photo, but just wanted to share that even Sweden was represented! This flower pot was manufactured by Rörstrand.

The kids liked this impressive piece, Ai Weiwei's chandelier-like "Fountain of Light":

In the final gallery, A Global Stage:

We also went to see the Children's Museum part. It wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but the kids liked it a lot, especially the interactive parts of course.

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi building in itself is truly a work of art. The galleries are thoughtfully and beautifully laid out. Every so often you get occasional windows to the sky, the sea or the courtyards outside; and there is space designed for you to rest your eyes, give room to the art and let you breathe.
The unique use of light is magical - a "Rain of Light", as it's so amply described.

The dome weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower, 7,500 tonnes, and it appears to float above the galleries, as the four pillars it rests on are hidden within the museum.

This bronze sculpture is by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Penone and it's called "Leaves of Light". It was commissioned by the Louvre Abu Dhabi, and has been designed to capture and reflect the rain of light generated by the steel canopy:

Huge paintings by Cy Twombly, Untitled I-IX:

Obligatory stop in the souvenir shop, of course!

I already can't wait to go back for another visit!

1 comment:

  1. Looks amazing....they just water their grass outside a bit better ��