Louvre Abu Dhabi is the museum for a cross-cultural generation

Like the stars that guide the nomad in the desert, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi dome invites us to look up and contemplate our world.

At the intersection of mathematics and organic life, the dome delineates a realm unto itself, in which the space and time of the museum unfold. The dome also pays homage to the vital importance of shade in Arabia, and at the same time filters the light to create a kind of cosmic calligraphy of imaginary forms. Beauty is born from this adjacency of opposites.

Louvre Abu Dhabi is a universal museum, in our age of globalisation. The word “universal” derives from “unus,” or “one,” and “vertere,” or “to turn.” Does the world turn around a centre, just as the planets and the sun were long ago thought to turn around the Earth? Rather, we should understand this etymology in-versely—as a plurality that turns into unity, or as a striving for coherence. In that spirit—to demonstrate what humanity has in common—Louvre Abu Dhabi takes the path of universality.

The universal spirit is revealed in stages at the museum. Its galleries offer visitors a vast historical fresco of “the long and visible development of humanity,” as the French poet and writer Charles Péguy described an important attribute of a universal museum. This is illustrated at Louvre Abu Dhabi by works of art from around the world, from across eras and cultures, since the museum is blessed not only with a splendid collection but also with exceptional loans from French museums.

Designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum contains 23 permanent galleries, special exhibition spaces, a Children’s Museum, auditorium, restaurants, retail and a research centre. Surrounded by the sea, the buildings are connected by waterfront promenades beneath the museum’s stunning dome.

Louvre Abu Dhabi has developed a rich collection of works originating from throughout human history and around the world, brought together to highlight universal themes and influences. To date, Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired more than 600 artworks, exhibited alongside 300 works on loan from 13 leading French institutions.

Louvre Abu Dhabi was born out of a unique intergovernmental agreement between the governments of Abu Dhabi and France in 2007.

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