Ph.D., Columbia University, 2012; M.Arch., Princeton University, 2005
Carolyn Yerkes specializes in Early Modern Architecture and Art, with a focus on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe and the Mediterranean. Her research investigates relationships between the built world and techniques of representation, including drawings, prints, paintings, books, models, and texts.
Her first book, Drawing after Architecture: Renaissance Architectural Drawings and Their Reception (Marsilio 2017), examines the nature of architectural evidence by asking how Renaissance architects used images to explore structures, to create biographies, and to write history. Countering the enduring tendency to valorize the original, Drawing after Architecture restores the copy to its crucial role in the history of architectural theory and invention. The book was awarded the James Ackerman Prize in the History of Architecture and was a finalist for the 2019 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award from the College Art Association.
Yerkes’s ongoing projects on Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778) take architecture’s relationship to print as their primary subject. Piranesi Unbound (Princeton University Press 2020), a book co-written with Heather Hyde Minor, demonstrates that within Piranesi’s volumes, textual erudition, academic argument, and art were fundamentally intertwined. Yerkes and Minor co-curated an exhibition on this theme, entitled Piranesi on the Page, held in the new galleries of Princeton’s Firestone Library in Fall 2021.
Yerkes is now at work on two books. Siegelands explores early modern siege warfare as a form of ecological and social transformation, in a series of essays on long-term conflict and its relationship to architecture and landscape. Direct Impressions is a short book on experimental printmaking technologies from the sixteenth century to the present, particularly those techniques that use objects inscribed with texts as printing matrices, such as squeezes and rubbings. Other topics that interest Yerkes lately include staircases, echo chambers, subterranean construction, and trees given as gifts for architectural projects.
Yerkes joined Princeton’s faculty in 2014. Before that she was curator of rare books at Columbia’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. At Princeton, she is a Faculty Fellow of Rockefeller College, an associated faculty member of the Committee on Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and teaches for the Programs in European Cultural Studies and in Hellenic Studies.
Yerkes is interested in advising graduate students pursuing dissertations across the field of Early Modern Art and Architecture.
Piranesi Unbound. With Heather Hyde Minor. Princeton University Press, 2020.
Drawing after Architecture: Renaissance Architectural Drawings and Their Reception. Marsilio, 2017.
Please see her website for articles, essays, and reviews.