Masterpieces in Louvre Abu Dhabi – Iconic Artworks You Should Not Miss

Louvre Abu Dhabi is France’s most significant cultural project abroad and reflects France and UAE’s liaison.

The museum’s architecture is worth admiring, taking inspiration from the Saadiyat.

It houses over 700 permanent artwork collections from the prehistoric era to the present.

They also display another 300 collections given on loan by its partner museums.

Established in 2017, it is the first universal museum in Abu Dhabi that preserves the historical, cultural, and social heritage of civilizations across the globe.

It gets over two million visitors annually and is famous for several masterpieces it exhibits worldwide.

We have summarized a list of iconic works in the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

La Belle Ferronnière (The Portrait of a Woman)

Artist: Leonardo da Vinci

Year: 1490-1495

Type of Art: Painting

It is one of Leonardo’s many masterpieces that depicts a woman’s elegance, mystery and emotional aspect.

The ‘sfumato’ technique in the painting style reflects the world of the Renaissance.

The woman’s identity is unknown, though there are several speculations about the woman being one of the Duke’s mistresses. It was never revealed.

The portrait displays class through its attire and jewels, but the stiffness in the posture and stare makes it mysterious.


Artist: Vincent van Gogh

Year: 1887

Type of Art: Painting

Vincent van Gogh, the Post-Impressionist artist, had painted about 35 self-portraits of himself, of which only a few remain.

The use of color and brushstrokes in the portrait vividly reveals Van Gogh’s unstable mind.

His inner turmoil and emotional instability are vivid with his intense gaze and frail look, characteristic of most self-portraits.

Napoleon Crossing the Alps

Napoleon Crossing the Alps
Image: Nytimes.com

Artist: Jacques Louis David

Year: 1802

Type of Art: Painting

The oil painting portrait romanticizes Napoleon Bonaparte as a conqueror and hero, painted by French Neoclassical artist Jacques Louis David.

The painting depicts Napoleon on horseback, leading his army across the St Bernard Pass in the Alps, symbolizing heroism and power.

The emperor’s cloak and the horse’s stance represent majesty and dominance, which means the Italian hero.

La Gare Saint-Lazare (The Saint-Lazare Station)

Artist: Claude Monet

Year: 1877

Type of Art: Painting

This painting represents the Industrial Revolution. It was painted by the Impressionist painter and captured the scenes of a railway station.

Like many of Monet’s other works that displayed painted railway stations and urban landscapes, this piece is a fine example of his style of artwork.

Portrait of a Woman 

Artist: Pablo Picasso

Year: 1928

Type of Art: Painting

The art represents Picasso’s Cubism through graphic arts like drawing, painting, engraving and calligraphy.

It is presumed to be the portrait of Picasso’s wife, but there is no explanation.

Grande Commande (Four Parts of the World) 

Artist: Pierre Mazeline, Leonard Roger, Jean Cornu and Gilles Guerin

Type of Art: Sculpture

The Four Parts of the World is a series of monumental sculptures on loan from the Palace of Versailles.

About 7.9 feet on average in height, the four sculptures represent the continent, as ordered to be built by King Louis XIV.

They were initially seen in the Gardens of Versailles at the beginning of the 20th century as part of the Grande Commande. 

Different artists designed each figure.

The ‘Europe’ sculpture, crafted by Pierre Mazeline, is modeled as the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva, with draped garments and a helmet adorned with arm trophies at her feet.

In Leonard Roger’s sculpture ‘Asia,’ a lady wearing a flower-crown headpiece is seen holding an incense case in her left hand, referencing the spices and fragrances brought to France from the continent.

Jean Cornu’s sculpture of ‘Africa’ has a lady with an elephant headpiece and a lion curled up on the ground, licking her foot, symbolizing the wildlife.

Finally, Gilles Guerin’s “America” has a feathered headpiece, a quiver on her back and a bow in her hand. 

She is standing over the severed head of a European and an alligator.

Page of the Blue Quran

Year: 900

Type of Art: Artifact

This page comes from one of the oldest Quranic manuscripts preserved to this day. 

It was probably produced in seven volumes in the 9th or 10th century in Kairouan, Tunisia. 

The contrast of the gold and the indigo-colored midnight-blue backdrop highlights the apparent simplicity of the calligraphy in Kufic and the composition’s balance and purity.

The golden letters represent the divine light dispersed by God, while the dark blue represents the cosmic world.

The page is in a display room with a Yemeni Torah, Buddhist sutras, and a Gothic bible in an attempt to highlight universal concepts of belief.

Giza, Necropolis of Memphis, Sphinx and Pyramids

Artist: Félix Teynard

Year: 1851-1852

Type of Art: Photography

The image taken by Félix Teynard is a vital historical record that shows the monuments of ancient Egypt before it underwent extensive repair work.

The picture features the Sphinx, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Khufu, all well-known representations of ancient Egyptian culture.

The image, a salt print from a paper negative, is evidence of these old landmarks’ historical relevance and lasting beauty.

Fountain of Light – Ai Weiwei 

Artist: Ai Weiwei

Year: 2007

Type of Art: Sculpture

The work reflects the modernist concept of Ai Weiwei, who was born in China and resided in Berlin.

This 4-meter column with dozens of crystal chandeliers turned upside down is a work of steel and glass crystals on a wooden base.

It references the old Chinese lanterns and the readymade concept of Marcel Duchamp by turning an object of mass consumption into art.

The upside-down chandeliers symbolize the broken hopes of the Chinese people against their government. 

The luminous spirals going upward symbolize infinity, going nowhere and self-destruction.

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1. What does the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s collection of masterpieces represent?

2. How many works of art are on display at Louvre Abu Dhabi?

3. What are some must-see artworks at the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

4. Are there going to be any new collections at Louvre Abu Dhabi for tourists to see?

5. Which was the most costly piece of art at the Louvre Museum of Abu Dhabi?

Featured Photo by Ziad Al Halabi on Unsplash

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