Louvre Abu Dhabi adds rare Rembrandt to its permanent collection

Staff at Louvre Abu Dhabi install the museum’s new acquisition ahead of their new exhibition opening on Feb. 14. (Louvre Abu Dhabi)
Updated 10 February 2019
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Louvre Abu Dhabi adds rare Rembrandt to its permanent collection

DUBAI: The Louvre Abu Dhabi has acquired a rare oil sketch by renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn.
The painting, a study of the figure of Christ painted between 1648–56, is the first work by Rembrandt known to have been acquired for a public collection in the Gulf region, according to the museum.
It will make its first appearance at Louvre Abu Dhabi in the exhibition “Rembrandt, Vermeer & the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from The Leiden Collection and the Musée du Louvre” before joining Louvre Abu Dhabi’s permanent collection.
The exhibition will showcase paintings and drawings by renowned Dutch artists Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and their contemporaries.
One of the highlights of the exhibit, which opens on Feb. 14, is Johannes Vermeer’s “Young Woman Seated at a Virginal” (1670-72) and “The Lacemaker” (1669-70 ), which will hang beside each other for the first time in 300 years.
On show until May 18, the exhibition is curated by Blaise Ducos, chief curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings at the Musée du Louvre, and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, curator of The Leiden Collection and a specialist in 17th century Dutch and Flemish art.
The exhibition “traces two main narratives – Rembrandt’s development as an artist, as seen through The Leiden Collection’s 15 works by the artist, and the development of genre painting in 17th-century Holland, as shown through The Leiden Collection’s extraordinary depth of works by the fijnschilders (fine painters),” Yeager-Crasselt said in a released statement.
Ducos explained more about the context in which these artworks were created hail in a released statement.
“During the 17th century, exceptional economic, social and political circumstances enabled one country, the Republic of the United Provinces, to become the world’s leading economic power. The Dutch were living in what they considered a ‘Golden Age.’ In this context, major artistic figures like Rembrandt or Vermeer flourished. Through the confrontation of masterpieces from the Musée du Louvre and The Leiden Collection, this exhibition tells this extraordinary story.”
The exhibition will unfold in six sections: At the Heart of the Dutch Golden Age; Extraordinary Beginnings: Rembrandt van Rijn in Leiden; The Center of the Golden Age: Rembrandt van Rijn in Amsterdam; Fine Painting in Leiden: Gerrit Dou, Frans van Mieris and their Contemporaries; Picturing Everyday Life in the Dutch Republic; Historical Lessons and Tales of Morality.
Alongside the exhibition, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will run a cultural program featuring film screenings curated by Emirati artist Hind Mezaina, pop-up costumed performance in the museum galleries as well as talks and workshops on the show.


Iraqi museum unveils ‘looted’ artefacts

Updated 20 March 2019
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Iraqi museum unveils ‘looted’ artefacts

  • Basra is the most oil-rich province in Iraq but its heritage sites have long been neglected
  • US says it has repatriated more than 3,000 stolen artefacts to Iraq since 2005

BASRA, Iraq: Over 2,000 artefacts, including about 100 that were looted and found abroad, were unveiled Tuesday in a museum in Basra province on the southern tip of Iraq, authorities said.
Basra is the most oil-rich province in Iraq but its heritage sites have long been neglected.
On Tuesday between 2,000 and 2,500 pieces went on display in the Basra Museum, the second largest in Iraq, said Qahtan Al-Obeid, head of archaeology and heritage in the province.
“They date from 6000 BC to 1500 AD,” he told AFP, referring to the Assyrian, Babylonian and Sumerian periods.
Obeid said about 100 artefacts — most of which came from Jordan and the United States — were given back to Iraq to be displayed in the museum, a former palace of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein.
The heritage of Iraq, most of which was former Mesopotamia, has paid a heavy price due to the wars that have ravaged the country for nearly four decades.
Following the US-led invasion that overthrew Saddam in 2003, Daesh group militants destroyed many of the country’s ancient statues and pre-Islamic treasures.
During its occupation of nearly a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017, Daesh captured much attention by posting videos of its militants destroying statues and heritage sites with sledgehammers and pneumatic drills on the grounds that they are idolatrous.
But experts say they mostly destroyed pieces too large to smuggle and sell off, and kept the smaller pieces, several of which are already resurfacing on the black market in the West.
The United States says it has repatriated more than 3,000 stolen artefacts to Iraq since 2005, including many seized in conflict zones in the Middle East.