Last night I was shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of Hasan Niyazi, via colleagues on Facebook. We’d lost touch, but I heard from him twice in the summer when he left a comment on my review of the Barocci exhibition in London praising my unorthodox approach. The very last communication was an e.mail asking me to answer questions about digital art history and blogging, his current project. He was absolutely committed to opening up art history to the general public via the blogosphere.
When I first created AHT there wasn't hardly anything; now, it's much healthier with many blogs, resources and a growing art history presence. A lot of that is down to him since he was one of the first to ask why art historians don't blog, that founding question that has led to projects and conversations about art history and the internet. 3 Pipe Problem was a real innovation and one of the most beautiful art history blogs out there; his ability to combine web technology with accessible art history expertise, with a strong aesthetic sense, was one of his real strengths. He tirelessly campaigned to bring art history within the grasp of everybody, and for that there can be no greater praise. His last post is all about that, but I never imagined the discussion would occur under these circumstances. I was hoping to re-join it with greater fervour than I’ve shown of late. Though he’s gone, the discussion will continue to evolve which I’m sure he would want.
As Monica Bowen says in her moving and eloquent tribute to him, Hasan was “passionate about Raphael.” He created, sadly unfinished, an online database of Raphael’s paintings and even attended Raphael conferences as an independent scholar. I’ve no idea which was his favourite Raphael- so I’ve chosen one for him: the Self-Portrait with a Friend in the Louvre. Art and Friendship in the on-line blogging community.
Update. This link leads to a Google docs page with all the tributes to Hasan, as well as links to his projects.