From 26 January to 4 June 2022 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, discover the exhibition Versailles & the World. It will feature paintings, furniture, works of art and sculptures from Versailles, as well as other French and international collections, showing how the Palace of Versailles and the Royal Court were the starting point for relations between East and West in the 17th and 18th centuries.
A selection of masterpieces from the Palace of Versailles collections will be displayed, supplemented by great works from French collections (Musée du Louvre, French National Library, Museum of Decorative Arts, etc.) and loans from major international institutions such as the British Royal Collection.
The Palace of Versailles, seat of royal power in France, and its Court maintained a great fascination for foreign civilisations, discovered by visitors to France such as the Ambassador of Siam in 1686. In this way, tastes evolved, allowing for new commercial trade to be born, importing items each more exotic than the next. These foreign visitors were the central focus of a 2017 exhibition at the Palace, Visitors to Versailles.
Beyond trade, sovereigns were also interested in the world’s scientific discoveries, from botany to astronomy, so much so that they launched major expeditions, simultaneously enhancing the image of France as a modern, powerful country
Visiting the exhibition
A palace open to the world
The first part of the exhibition explores the cultural diversity of visitors that came from all over the world to Versailles. When the principle of permanent visibility of King Louis XIV was implemented, the palace became accessible to the public, open to the world. The attraction exerted by this “palace without equal” brought a constant parade of travellers, princes and ambassadors, artists and merchants, architects and scholars, philosophers and adventurers from every continent.
Orient revealed, Orient imagined : exoticism at Versailles
This part of the exhibition explores exchanges with the Orient. Europeans were fascinated by these extraordinary ambassadors from far-off lands, sparking the curiosity of collectors, inspiring artists and contributing to infusing society with a hint of the exotic. At this time, the Orient was a place of dreams, interpreted through a French lens.
Where earth meets sky : discovering the world
The third section relates to France’s scientific policy, translating the country’s thirst to discover and understand earthly and celestial worlds. In 1666, the Royal Academy of Sciences was founded, summoning the most important scientists in Europe, and leading to the first aerostatic experiments with hot air balloons, for example. Astronomy, botany, zoology, geography, and more... Discoveries were now being made on a planetary level, in a context of emulation and rivalry between nations, shaking up ideas of the world and offering infinite perspectives to modern countries.
Hélène Delalex, heritage curator at Palace of Versailles
Bertrand Rondot, head heritage curator at Palace of Versailles
The exhibition will be accompanied by an in-depth cultural programme, available entirely online, celebrating the many artistic practices of French history:
- Marie-Antoinette’s Secret Soirée, from 25 to 27 March 2022 at the Louvre Abu Dhabi: an immersive experience inviting spectators to a unique evening at the Versailles Royal Opera House.
- Eid Film Festival, celebrating the art of cinema.
- Kayak Cinema Show: enjoy a cinematographic experience aboard a kayak tour around the museum, with projections on the museum walls.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
The museum is open every day except Monday, from 10am to 6.30pm
The last reservation slot is 5.30pm.
Full price: 63 United Arab Emirates dirham (AED)
Reduced price: 31.5 AED (UAE school teachers, college lecturers and university faculty members, UAE military, Auditorium / Workshop ticket holders.)
Free for under 18s, UAE nationals and residents over 60, Art Club members with one guest, Youth / Teacher Pass holders, ICOM / ICOMOS card holders, journalists, and visitors with reduced mobility and their accompanying adult.