TNN : Louvre Abu Dhabi turns four: a look back at some memorable masterpieces by Melissa Gronlund

A visitor takes a photo of Leonardo da Vinci's 'La Belle Ferronniere' when it was on show at Louvre Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

From Rodin’s ‘The Thinker’ to Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Self-Portrait’, the museum has hosted some priceless works since its opening in 2017

Louvre Abu Dhabi is celebrating its fourth anniversary and it has changed and evolved exponentially since its first display. The museum rotates its collection every October, and has been acquiring pieces since its 2017 opening, with 56 new acquisitions currently on display.

Moreover, its loans displayed as part of the exhibitions it has hosted, thanks to the partnership between Agence France-Museums and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi also means that Louvre Abu Dhabi has been host to a number of high-profile works: heavy hitters such as Rodin’s The Thinker or Vincent Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait.

If you missed them, here are some of the highlights from the past four years:

The world’s oldest pearl

In a nod to the UAE’s pearl-diving history, in 2019 Louvre Abu Dhabi displayed what is believed to be the world’s oldest pearl. It dates back to between 5,800 BC and 5,600 BC, and was found in an archaeological dig on Marawah Island in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The slightly gold-hued pearl would have been worn as jewellery or traded for goods, experts say. It will eventually be on show at the Zayed National Museum, but was exhibited as part of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s 10,000 Years of Luxury exhibition, from 2019 to 2020.

Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘La Belle Ferronniere’

One of the indisputable stars of Renaissance portraiture, Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronniere appeared at Louvre Abu Dhabi from its opening until September 2019, looking over her shoulder with her sceptical, serious expression. The title is thought to refer to the jewel that adorns the woman’s forehead, and was painted during what’s known as Leonardo’s first Milanese period, when he worked in the northern Italian city from 1482 to 1499 and produced The Last Supper, among other pieces. The work was on loan to Louvre Abu Dhabi from the Musee du Louvre in Paris. READ MORE