Marina Lambraki Plaka, Director of the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, has passed away on Monday morning at the age of 83.

Marina Lambraki Plaka was born in Arkalohori in Heraklion, Crete. She was a graduate of the Department of History and Archaeology, University of Athens (1959-1964). She undertook postgraduate studies in Classical Archaeology at the University of Athens, on a scholarship from the State Scholarship Foundation (SSF). The subject was “Pre-Socratic Philosophy and Art”.

She attended the History of Art lectures by Professor Pantelis Prevelakis at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1965-1968). She undertook postgraduate studies in the History and Sociology of Art at Paris I, Sorbonne on an SSF scholarship (1968-1971). She received a Doctorat d’État ès Lettres with honours at Paris I, Sorbonne on Bourdelle and Greece in 1973.

She was unanimously elected Professor at the Chair of History of Art at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1975). She was the first woman professor in the history of the Athens School of Fine Arts. She has been a visiting fellow at Princeton University on a Fullbright Scolarhip. She has also been a visiting professor at several universities in France, the US and the School of Philosophy of the University of Crete at Rethymnon.

Director of the National Gallery-Alexandros Soutsos Museum since 1992

During her tenure as director, the National Gallery was refurbished, new annexes opened (Corfu, Nafplio, the National Glyptotheque at Goudi, the Kapralos Museum on
Aegina), 3,000 works of art were acquired, including two masterpieces by Theotokopoulos (El Greco), major exhibitions by Greek and international artists were organized
and well-received, logging approximately 5.5 million visitors. All these activities were funded between 60-100% by sponsorship.

After several years of efforts, the study for the expansion of the National Gallery building has been completed, more than doubling the gallery’s exhibition space and updating the museum in form and function. The project, funded by NSRF and sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is currently being carried out under the technical supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

Honorary distinctions

-Kazantzakis Prize of the City of Heraklion, Crete (1985)
-1st State Prize for Essay and Criticism for the book On Painting – Alberti and Leonardo (1988)
-Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of the Italian Republic (1994)
-Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of the Italian Republic (2007)
-Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic (1997)
-Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of the French Republic (2005)
-Knight of the Order of Legion of Honour of the French Republic (2011)
-Medal of the Civil Order of Alfonso X, the Wise by the Spanish Ministry of Culture (2000)
-Gold Cross of the Order of Merit by the President of the Hellenic Republic (2004)
-TEI of Crete Award (2005)
-Lions International Award (2006)
-XENIA Award (2006)
-“Ariadne” Award by the Pancretian Union of America (2009).

-Elected Vice-President of AICA International
-Elected Greek Candidate for the “Woman of Europe” Award (2007)
-Appointed Alternate Minister of Culture in the Caretaker Government of September 2015

She has published 21 books and more than 200 papers and articles in academic magazines and newspapers; has written more than 100 essays for exhibition catalogues.

She has participated in numerous academic conferences in Greece and abroad.