Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 November 2019

A new era of culture: the day Louvre Abu Dhabi was inaugurated

It happened two years ago today

It was on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 that Louvre Abu Dhabi's inauguration ceremony took place, welcoming leaders from around the world. By then, it had been a decade since the project had been approved by the French Parliament and the Louvre Museum in Paris signed a $525 million (Dh1.92 billion) agreement, allowing the capital’s government to use its name for 30 years.

“The [museum] will be a meeting point for lovers of art, culture and beauty all around the world,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, at the opening event, as 10 years of hard work finally came to fruition.

“With the opening of this museum, Abu Dhabi has become the capital of art, architecture and mankind’s heritage.”

Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (L) shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron (C-L) as Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (2nd R) greets the president's wife, Brigitte Macron, at the entrance of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum on November 8, 2017 during its inauguration on Saadiyat island in the Emirati capital. - More than a decade in the making, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is opening its doors bringing the famed name to the Arab world for the first time. (Photo by KARIM SAHIB / AFP)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed greet Emmanuel Macron and First Lady Brigitte at hte opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi. AFP

At the inauguration – which happened three days before the museum officially opened its doors to the public on November 11, 2017 with a programme of music, arts, dance performances and workshops – Sheikh Mohammed was joined by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, as well as Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, and the First Lady Brigitte.

In the two years since opening, the Jean Nouvel-designed museum on Saadiyat Island has attracted a bevy of famous faces looking to discover the treasures beneath its signature latticed dome. From global dignitaries, such as Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, the UK’s Prince Andrew and former French president Francois Hollande to world-renowned celebrities, including tennis star Maria Sharapova, Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody and domestic goddess Martha Stewart, there’s no shortage of culture-seekers perusing both its permanent and temporary exhibitions.

While the collection is already stellar, benefiting from partnerships with French cultural institutions, there have also been some significant additions. In the past month alone, that includes Auguste Rodin’s famed bronze sculpture The Thinker, which is on loan for a year from the Rodin Museum in Paris, as well as what is believed to be the world’s oldest natural pearl. This 8,000-year-old gem was discovered on Marawah Island and is now on display in what has quickly become the UAE’s most fascinating museum.

This year, Louvre Abu Dhabi are celebrating their second anniversary with pop-up performances by artists and musicians in the galleries. On Saturday, November 9, Al Fursan will present an aerobatic display and fly over the dome at 2pm.

Updated: November 11, 2019 07:53 AM

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