Orange Alert

Syracuse Art Historian Publishes Book on Vermeer

Professor Wayne Franits provides fresh insight into 17th-century Dutch master

April 15, 2015, by Sarah Scalese

Professor Wayne Franits
Wayne Franits

Wayne Franits, professor of art & music histories (AMH) in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, is the author of Vermeer (2015), the latest in Phaidon Press’ “Arts and Ideas” series.

In this anticipated monograph, Franits examines the work of Johannes Vermeer, the 17th-century Dutch painter known for his captivating scenes of domesticity and elegant leisure activities.    

A specialist in 17th-century Dutch and Flemish art, Franits provides fresh insight into many of Vermeer’s works, uncovering the creative processes behind them and their wealth of meanings.

“Despite his relatively small output, Vermeer is among the most admired of all Dutch artists,” says Franits, the author or editor of seven other books, including the landmark Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting: Its Stylistic and Thematic Evolution (Yale University Press, 2008). “His interest in the behavior of light and other optical effects was perhaps his trademark, but he also was a master of other key elements, namely balanced composition.” 


Franits’ book comes on the heels of his receipt of the American Philosophical Society’s Franklin Research Grant, which has enabled him to travel to London to study the 17th-century Dutch genre and portrait painter Godfried Schalcken.

Other awards include a research fellowship and summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities, underwriting his books on the Dutch painters Hendrick ter Brugghen (co-authored with Leonard J. Slatkes) and Dirck van Baburen, respectively.

“Professor Franits is a vital and valued member of our department,” says Theo Cateforis, associate professor and chair of AMH. “He is a world-class scholar, an outstanding teacher, and a deft, experienced administrator. He has made major contributions to the field, while underscoring the University’s commitment to the interdisciplinary, cultural study of art.”


Wayne Franits Distinguished Professor and Chair

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