Scholar of Dutch baroque art; professor of History of Art, UC Berkeley,1962-1994; exponent of the "new art history." Born Svetlana Leontief, she graduated from Radcliffe College with a B.A. in 1957. She married the following year, assuming her husband's surname of Alpers. She continued graduate work in art history at Harvard University publishing an article on Vasari's verbal descriptions of art (ekphrasis) in 1960 in the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, which announced her innovative approach to art history.