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Day #10: Abu Dhabi

Today we drove to Abu Dhabi to visit two sites: the spectacular Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

We started with the mosque (which Libby and I had visited previously), which I think can speak well enough for itself:

What one feels about this or any other religion, it’s difficult to believe the structure is anything but sublime.

Next, we went to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which we found to be in a kind of deserted (though building) area across from the main city area. There’s an interesting article in the New York Times on the museum that I highly recommend. The collection draws connections between cultures and time periods, and while it’s perhaps guilty of over simplification I think it strikes a cord in a way that’s not been done previously as well in my experience.

From the New York Times article:

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is banking on the theory that pointing out links among a wide variety of cultures will make all art feel more approachable to the global audience it hopes to attract. Once viewers gain the habit of spotting connections, they may come to accept that all cultures are equally valuable and personally relevant. That, at least, seems to be the thinking, and it makes sense.

And, I think it really works — it’s a triumph.

Let me share a few examples…

The common theme of motherhood from Europe, Asia, and Africa:

The direct line between these classical and neoclassical artworks:

The juxtaposition of Judaic, Islamic, and Christian texts and objects:

I could go on. It’s an encyclopedic museum:

But, the collection and exhibition also spoke to a global future and international themes of today:

Plus, the space itself is simply amazing…

The hour-long (or thereabouts) drive back to our hotel was uneventful.

For dinner tonight (since we didn’t want to wait until sunset to eat) we ordered pizza and salad to our suite from a local Italian restaurant called Massimo’s. It was both delicious and reasonably priced.

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