Continuing the display of its collection to the public ahead of opening, Louvre Abu Dhabi will show the latest additions to the museums permanent collection in Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories. FACT learns more about the second showcase of the new pieces, titled Immortal Figures, from Senior Project Manager, Dr. Celine Pouyat…

Part one of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories showcase of new acquisitions came to a close in late July. With this end came the beginning of another exciting display: Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures. Both presentations include the important Fayoum portrait, a fine example of an Egyptian funerary painting that would traditionally have been placed on the face of a mummified body.

The first display, Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Al Qalam, which ran from June 21 to July 25, explored the art of the written word, featuring a broad selection of textual artworks including a Quran bifolio, miniatures, and a manuscript. The second display, Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures, will run until August 30 at Manarat Al Saadiyat, and is a celebration of sculptures from across the globe.

For all you art connoisseurs and culture vultures out there, we spoke to Senior Project Manager, Dr. Celine Pouyat to get more in-depth look at this stunning exhibition.


Tell us more about Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures – what was the thought-process behind it and what are some of the most significant pieces on display?


Through a selection of a few of the most recent artworks acquired by the museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories explores the themes that have linked civilisations throughout 01 history, inspiring new comparisons of these artworks from different times, civilisations and geographies. Immortal Figures celebrates the representation of the human figure; a common theme that that has always been an enduring presence in artistic expression. Immortal Figures features a wooden carving Uli statue from New Ireland, a Nepalese gilt copper figure of Maitreya, and an Italian Rennaissance bust of Saint Peter Martyr. The two displays are linked by the impressive Fayum portrait of a boy, which is the cornerstone of this selection of works.

The display is very much a product of the Louvre Abu Dhabi team who worked closely with Agence France Museums to explore new ideas on how these artworks can be interpreted and how they should be presented to the public. The select number of artworks showcased in the two themed displays of Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories are recent additions to the permanent collection having been acquired in 2014. They will join over 500 artworks in the collection spanning from pre-history to present day and will be exhibited alongside 300 artworks loaned by leading French institutions.


Yours or the teams favourite piece on display and why…


Alia Zaal Lootah, Researcher, Louvre Abu Dhabi: “The Fayum portrait is my favourite piece in Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures display as it is a beautiful example of this type of portrait. It maintains its original composition and it its aesthetic quality is very rare. This portrait combines characteristics of two of the world’s most important civilisations; Egyptian and Roman, and this is evident in the formal representation of the painting. It also combines the ancient tradition of the mummification (as it was placed on the face of the deceased over the mummy) as well as the tradition of the Roman death masks.”


Why should people visit this exhibition and what message(s) do you hope they will walk away with?


Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories is an opportunity to see how Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection is developing and to get a glimpse into a selection of artworks that will be on display in the museum. We hope that visitors will leave the presentation with a new idea on how artworks can be interpreted and with a better understanding of the universal themes that are at the heart of Louvre Abu Dhabi.


How is the opening of The Louvre Abu Dhabi going to change the arts and scene in the UAE?


Louvre Abu Dhabi is part of a cultural development that is unprecedented in scale and scope. The iconic institutions of Saadiyat Cultural District will attract local, regional and international visitors with unique exhibitions, permanent collections and performances. As a universal museum in the 21st century housed in a building embodying the finest examples of modernday architecture, Louvre Abu Dhabi will be a hub for universal culture, reflecting Abu Dhabi’s position at the crossroads of east and west.

GO: Louvre Abu Dhabi Stories: Immortal Figures will run at Manarat Al Saadiyat from 9am to 8pm until August 30. Visit www. louvreabudhabi.ae for more information.