ABU DHABI- Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first international exhibition of the year, Versailles & the World, has been inaugurated by Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.

The exhibition opens to the public tomorrow, 26th January, and will run until 4th June 2022.

Organised by Louvre Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, and with the support of France Muséums, the exhibition highlights the eclectic history of France’s royal court at Versailles. Visitors will view more than 100 artworks from the collections of Louvre Abu Dhabi, the UK’s Royal Collection Trust, and 16 French lenders including the Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, and will also be able to enjoy a parallel public programme of wide-ranging cultural activities.

By focusing on the reception, interpretation and assimilation of foreign cultures by the court, the exhibition explores how the Palace of Versailles became a place for cultural exchange between the French monarchy and court, and foreign ambassadors and diplomatic missions during the reign of three French monarchs – Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI.

The displays showcase how Versailles became a hub for intellectual encounters and cultural expression, and a place of international collaboration and artistic production that looked to the rest of the world for inspiration, while at the same time illustrating the finest French taste, craftsmanship and art de vivre.

Al Mubarak said, "I am delighted to see Abu Dhabi’s dynamic cultural calendar for the year take off to a strong start with the opening of this fascinating exhibition, which provides unique insights into the royal court at Versailles and its powerful impact on the world over the centuries. Louvre Abu Dhabi and its esteemed partner museums have developed a strong reputation for producing insightful and thought-provoking exhibitions that highlight the importance of cultural interactions, which tie well into Abu Dhabi’s wider mission of harnessing tolerance and cross-cultural understanding."

Manuel Rabaté, Director of Louvre Abu Dhabi, said, "We are pleased to host the first international exhibition of 2022, Versailles & the World. The exhibition allows visitors to explore the complex network of political diplomacy, international commerce, intellectual encounter, and artistic creativity that helped grow French influence across the world and speaks to the ambitions of the modern age. The exhibition is a deep exploration and celebration of the human endeavour for partnerships, collaboration and creation, which underlines Louvre Abu Dhabi’s role as a convener of people of all backgrounds and a platform that helps realise the artistic, intellectual and global ambitions of communities in this region."

Versailles & the World has been curated by Hélène Delalex, Heritage Curator, and Bertrand Rondot, Chief Heritage Curator for Furniture and Decorative arts at the Musée national des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, with the support of Dr. Souraya Noujaim, Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Scientific, Curatorial and Collections Management Director.

Co-curators Hélène Delalex and Bertrand Rondot said, "The most important message for the visitors is to discover the extraordinary openness to the world of Versailles and all its nations, openness of all kinds, at a time when travel was very long and still risky. We invite the visitors to discover this story through impressive works of art which will surprise and strive the visitors." Dr. Noujaim said, "In this exhibition, Louvre Abu Dhabi invites visitors to discover the court at Versailles and its vistas onto the wider world. Designed for all types of visitors, Versailles & the World explores the inspiration of foreign lands behind the arts and the French court’s fascination with distant countries, as well as its ambivalent relations with them."

Versailles & The World masterclass is led by the renowned artist Dr. Najat Makki showcasing a specialised painting workshop inspired by the exhibition’s artworks on Saturday, 26th February and Saturday 26th March 2022.

Louvre Abu Dhabi will also present #MakeandPlay activity for the young ones, encouraging them to discover all the different diplomats visiting Musée national des châteaux de Versailles.

Other programmes include Interactive Tours for Schools and Universities, and the Oral Emirati Histories where the programme hosts a senior Emirati to engage with school students to discover the new exhibition's collection through storytelling.

Students will also explore "Etiquette", or what is known in the UAE as "Al Sana'", a value that Emiratis inherit from generation to generation, will be used as the catalyst for exploring French Etiquette, a code that evolved at the time of Versailles aristocratic socially. The sessions will define the customs practiced by locals that differ from one Emirate to another.

Entrance to the exhibition is free with general museum admission tickets. Admission to the museum is free for children under the age of 18.


© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2022.