Elizabeth J. Petcu is an historian of early modern art and architectural culture in Europe and Latin America. Her work probes the interplay between architecture and other media as well as strategies for imitating nature during the emergence of global architecture. Elizabeth's scholarship on architecture's intercultural dynamics draws on a mixed training in the Anglophone and German spheres. After obtaining her Ph.D. from the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University in 2015, she taught for two years at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Prior to this, Elizabeth held Samuel H. Kress and Fulbright Fellowships at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich, as well as curatorial research positions at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum and Princeton University Art Museum.
Elizabeth's pedagogy empowers students to teach each other and themselves through critical encounters with historical sources. She leads courses on early modern architectural culture, theory, and historiography. She also supports student research projects from the undergraduate to the Ph.D. level in the areas of European architectural history as well as the history of global architectural exchange.
Elizabeth's research examines modes of exchange across architectural cultures and between architecture and other disciplines such as the natural sciences and the figural arts. Elizabeth has articles (published and forthcoming) in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, and the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. Elizabeth is completing her first book, The Edifice Undone: Architecture and the Figural Arts in Wendel Dietterlin's Renaissance. The book examines how the Architectura treatise of Wendel Dietterlin the Elder (c. 1550-1599) and its models for ornament in all media shaped the rise of the professional architect as a designer of spaces, images, and objects from the sixteenth-century Rhineland to seventeenth-century Peru. During the 2017-2018 academic year, she served as Robert H. Lehman Fellow at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. There she began developing her second book project: Nature and Imitation in Early Modern Architecture.