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Hasan Niyazi, Art Historian, Remembered

Originally published 03 Nov 2013

A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. John Keats

Hasan retweeted this the day before his sudden death at the age of 37.  Hasan, you – and your passion for beauty – are impossible to forget, too.

I return to my neglected blog space under the saddest of circumstances. Hasan was a mercurial force in the digital art history space, and created a devoted community of Renaissance art lovers around his blog Three Pipe Problem. In November 2011 he wrote proudly to me that Three Pipe Problem had surpassed 300,000 page views since its launch in late 2009. He was letting me know that my own guest post had received healthy traffic.

I was so moved and grateful that he had given me a voice in the art history space. Without his kind offer of a guest post I would have pretty much been talking to myself. He took an equal opportunities approach to his platform.  He gave those who were willing to write with rigor and passion a voice, regardless of academic pedigree. He unearthed my obscure blog posts and started a dialogue with me through Twitter and then email.

With Hasan I felt I had found a kindred spirit, united by a love of art history. He understood what it meant to love Renaissance painting – to appreciate a specific beauty, utterly unique in the world. Sometimes when I feel discouraged, I can be lifted back to a state of wonder through this art. It’s not something easily shared in analog life. It felt so amazing to share it with Hasan and feel the same spark of recognition with his community. If that weren’t enough, he also loved cats and 3D animated art!

He was so disarming with his personal tweets and emails. Sometimes I felt closer to him than perhaps was strictly reality based, because I hadn’t really experienced a deep virtual friendship before. He kept me in the art loop with tweets and reference materials. Without this I would have been floating in outer art space. I loved too our light hearted exchanges about cats. I thought it was so wonderful that he hosted a birthday party for his cat complete with party hats.

The particular sadness I now feel is that I lost close touch with both the art history community and with Hasan over the past year due to a kind of virtual hibernation period I went through. I thought he’d be there when I returned. He was so understanding and encouraged me to get in touch whenever. I wish I had tweeted him more often from my dark cave, because I thought about him constantly.

I now understand he had this kind of effect on many kindred souls all over the world. I hope to remain a part of this community he created. On his site, he wrote this:

If reading one these posts leads you to look at a painting, watch a movie or a read a book you hadn’t before – that would be delightful!

I have looked at so many paintings with fresh eyes thanks to you, Hasan. For the rest of my life, when I look at the wondrous paintings I love, I’ll think of you.

See also, Tim Burton meets Raphael in the Darkness (and the Light), a post inspired by and dedicated to Hasan.


Other tributes from Hasan's devoted blogging community includes


Archived Comments

Laurie van Dijk 03 Nov 2013 You made me cry, and realize (once again) Just how precious people can be to us.. I just recently suffered the loss of both my fathers, and even though we knew it was coming… well we all feel the same in these situations. I feel your pain and am thinking of you.
Glennis 05 Nov 2013 Thanks Laurie. I’m sorry also for your loss. I’ll be thinking of you too.
Hasret 12 Nov 2013 Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of my dear brother, Hasan. I am his younger sister, Hasret and am so honoured by the tremendous admiration and respect Hasan has received from all over the world. I loved how you also added the stories about cats- that is very much him. My family is in deep shock and grieving for his sudden and unexpected passing. We take comfort and thank you for posting such heartfelt tributes.
Glennis 28 Dec 2013 Hasret, I am so sorry for your loss. If you and your family have taken comfort from this tribute and others, I am very grateful.



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