A specialist in Italian Renaissance and Baroque visual culture, Yvonne Elet joined the Vassar faculty in 2009. She has also taught at New York University in the Department of Art History and the Architecture and Urban Studies Program. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, took graduate courses at the University of Paris (Sorbonne), and received her B. S at Yale University, where she majored in computer science, with minors in Art History and French.
Before becoming an art historian, she had a career at IBM, holding a series of positions in systems engineering and marketing. At the IBM Gallery of Science and Art in New York, 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) and work in the Metropolitan Museum’s Department of Drawings and Prints. She received the Certificate of Curatorial Studies jointly conferred by NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts and the Metropolitan Museum.
Her article on outdoor seating in Renaissance Florence in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians won that organization's Founder's Award. Her current research interests include the revival of stucco decoration after the antique in early modern Europe; classical and early modern villas and villa literature; and the collaboration of humanists and artists in papal Rome. She is working on a monograph on Raphael’s Villa Madama in Rome, which she approaches as an integrated ensemble of architecture, decoration, landscape, and waterworks for the Medici popes. She has presented her work in many conferences and invited lectures, and she has received grants for her research from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998-1999), the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, Washington, DC (2001-2002), and a Getty Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the History of Art and Humanities (2008-2009). 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 decoration and ideology of Italian villas and gardens.