When the Louvre Abu Dhabi opens next year, the “universal” museum being built in the Gulf will have on show a painting by Leonardo da Vinci lent by the Louvre in Paris. Portrait of an Unknown Woman, around 1495, will be among the 300 works lent by French institutions to the Jean Nouvel-designed museum on Saadiyat Island, which is due to open at the end of 2015.
The Louvre is lending the portrait by Leonardo da Vinci “to illustrate Renaissance artists’ quest for naturalism with the aid of the new technique of oil painting”, according to a press statement. It will also complement a Madonna and Child by Bellini, which is in the Louvre Abu Dhabi collection.
The 300 loans from France will be shown alongside works acquired for the permanent collection of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which has been conceived as a “universal” museum. Instead of the schools of art, geographical or period-based divisions of art found in the Louvre in Paris and other encyclopaedic museums, Louvre Abu Dhabi aims to highlight “interconnections, exchanges and conversations between civilisations and the similarities and differences between their artistic traditions”, according to a press statement.
The number of works on temporary loan by French museums is due to decrease over a ten-year period as the Gulf museum builds its collection. Loans will be for between three month and two years.