The Louvre Abu Dhabi

Talking Art Series opens to the public this week Discuss this article

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Though there’s still a bit of a wait for the official opening, which is planned for 2015, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is starting to engage and involve the public and keep them informed of developments even at this early stage.

Manarat Al Saadiyat will again be the host for an arty programme of public events including talks, lectures, classes and workshops designed to explore and investigate the significance of the artworks and exhibitions that will be on display at The Louvre, both in terms of the history of art and in the context of the museum’s expanding collection.

Among the works that have been recently acquired are numerous pieces of sculpture, items of décor, paintings and the first lot in the what will be the museum’s photographic collection. The new works will be introduced during the Talking Art Series, a programme of public talks, student discussions and children’s workshops, starting on October 3 and running until June 26, 2013. The series is organised jointly by TCA Abu Dhabi, Agence France-Muséums and the École du Louvre.

We took a look at some of the new photographs which will eventually be on display, including Girault de Prangey’s ‘Ayoucha’ (1843), Roger Fenton’s ‘Pasha And Bedouin’ (1858) and two negatives of ancient temples by Reverend George Wilson Bridges (circa 1848-53).

Girault de Prangey’s daguerreotypes are the oldest known photographs of Greece, Palestine, Egypt, Syria and Turkey. The daguerreotype is the first form of photography, developed in 1839 France. The process involves no paper or glass and is entirely processed by a silver surface on a copper sheet then developed using mercury fumes. The particular photograph ‘Ayoucha’, is believed to be the earliest photographic representation of a veiled woman. ‘Ayoucha’, is not only old and significant by anyone’s standards but like all good stories the photograph has an element of drama too. On Girault de Prangey’s return from the near east, his pictures were completely forgotten and only rediscovered in the 1920s, many years after he died.

Roger Fenton was the official British photographer during the Crimean war, and many consider his pictures of the conflict some of the most influential images of all time. However, ‘Pasha And Bedouin’ was not actually taken during his travels but following his return to a quiet English life and studio work.

In 1851 George Wilson Bridges, an English pastor, travelled from Egypt to Greece, Turkey, the Holy Land and the rest of North Africa, taking some of the earliest images of the Arab world. His negatives of temples from this trip are much sought after and can reach impressive sums at auction.

By Cursty Mitchell
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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