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Fine Arts professor’s new book examines Dutch painter Pieter de Hooch
Fine Arts professor’s new book examines Dutch painter Pieter de HoochJanuary 24, 2007Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
In his new publication, Wayne Franits, professor of fine arts in The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, examines “A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy” by Dutch painter Pieter de Hooch (1629-1684). The painting (right), executed by de Hooch between 1661 and 1663 and part of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection, depicts a trivial moment in a family’s daily routine: a dutiful mother buttering bread for the young son who stands at her side.
“Pieter de Hooch: A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy (Getty Museum Studies on Art)” (Getty Trust Publications: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) explores the painting in relation to de Hooch’s life and work. Franits examines the artist’s stylistic development and relationship to fellow painters in the Dutch Republic. He places the work’s subject in the broader context of 17th-century Dutch concepts of domesticity and child rearing, making it appear almost holy or sacred. He also ties the work to social and cultural developments in the Netherlands during the latter half of the 17th century.
“Domestic virtue, the real subject of De Hooch’s painting, is a topic that I have studied on and off for two decades,” says Franits. “Knowing this, for my birthday my wife recently presented me with a photo of herself and our son posed like de Hooch’s mother and son — a modern adaptation of that domesticity.”
Franits is a specialist in 17th-century Dutch art. He is the author of numerous publications, including “Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting: Its Thematic and Stylistic Evolution” (Yale University Press, 2004).