Faculty Bio

Yvonne Elet

Associate Professor of Art

A specialist in Italian Renaissance and Baroque art and architecture, Yvonne Elet joined the Vassar faculty in 2009. She previously taught at New York University in the Department of Art History and the Architecture and Urban Studies Program. She received the M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and a B. S in Computer Science from Yale College.

Before becoming an art historian, she had a career in systems engineering and marketing at IBM, and then transferred to the IBM Gallery of Science and Art in New York, where she coordinated exhibitions on subjects from fractal geometry to Sardinian Renaissance painting. Subsequent museum projects include a Mellon Curatorial Fellowship at The Frick Collection (2002-2004). She also received the Certificate of Curatorial Studies jointly conferred by NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum.

Prof. Elet’s current research focuses on Renaissance villa culture; integrated designs for art, architecture and landscape;  and on intersections among art, literature, science, and natural philosophy in early modern Europe.  Her first book, Architectural Invention in Renaissance Rome: Artists, Humanists, and the Planning of Raphael’s Villa Madama, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. She is also working on a monograph about Villa Madama – Raphael’s late masterwork – as an integrated ensemble of architecture, decoration, landscape, and waterworks; and a book about stucco in the architecture and decoration of early modern Europe. Other research interests include early modern gardens, and their reception and recreation in the twentieth century.  Her articles and reviews appear in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, I Tatti Studies in the Italian Renaissance, and caa.reviews.

She has presented her work in many conferences and invited lectures, and has received grants for her research from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, Washington, DC, the Getty Research Institute in the History of Art and Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). She has been a visiting professor at the University of Bologna, and a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Professor Elet teaches courses on art of the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries in Italy, and her seminar topics include a reconsideration of Raphael’s multimedia oeuvre, and the design and ideology of Italian villas and gardens.