Hasan Niyazi, Remembered
A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.
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.