The Byzantine and Christian Museum diary for 2011 is dedicated to the
Duchess of Plaisance. The product of Napoleonic France and philhellenic
Romanticism, Sophie Barbé de Marbois, Duchesse de Plaisance (1785-1854)
brought a unique dash of colour to Athens during its first decades as
capital of the new Greek state. Her bequests to later generations
include the buildings associated with her that continue to grace the
city (including the Villa Ilissia, the home of the Byzantine Museum),
but also the web of tales woven around her name in which real events are
combined with exaggeration, invention and legend.
Entitled “The Duchess of Plaisance: history and myth”, the diary pieces together the glamorous, multi-coloured mosaic of the Duchess’s life and mythology in paintings, publications, photographs and archive material.
The diary is accompanied by a temporary exhibition entitled “The Duchess of Plaisance: the history behind the myth” opening at the Byzantine and Christian Museum on December 17, 2010.