his must be what it’s like to walk around inside the Death Star,” I said to my friend as we strolled around the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a landmark for both art and architecture which opened to the public on 11 November.
Imagined as a “museum city” by architect Jean Nouvel – a collection of more than 50 buildings, including 23 galleries holding 600 works of art – its stark, white walls are bordered by lagoons, with most structures housed beneath a vast domed roof.
A deal between Abu Dhabi and France will see the Louvre name leased for a period of 30 years (this isn’t an official Louvre franchise), with loans of high profile artworks from France’s major museums filling many of the walls as the new sibling fills its own collection. The works on display for its opening come from Paris greats as well as the Louvre itself: the Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Château de Versailles, Musée Rodin, Musée Guimet and Musée du Quai Branly. Works have also been sourced from galleries outside France – the National Museum of Oman, for example.
So what are the highlights? Well, the most photographed artwork (photography without flash is allowed) appears to be Jacques-Louis