The Internet provides me with a community of people who share my interests in the history of science, maths, mathematical logic, the history of food and a few other things as well. These are people with whom I can exchange ideas, dispute, some whom I can educate, many more who can educate me, people who make me think, laugh and sometimes even cry. Yesterday evening a gaping hole was torn in my personal Internet community as I received the news on Twitter of the death of art historian and blogger, Hasan Niyazi, known to his friends on Twitter, of which I had the privilege of being one, as @3pipenet. I was stunned and strangely hurt and I still am, stuck in a phase of denial refusing to believe that I will no longer read his tweets or receive an email from him.
I tend to live very much in the present. I don’t keep a diary and have difficulty reconstructing a journal of my own rather twisted life. I have no idea when we first came into contact; I only know that it was Hasan who first contacted me. He was a big fan of this blog and regarded me as a role model, somebody to look up to and emulate in his own history blogging; something that he said often, both privately and publically. This was of course total bullshit as he was a much, much better blogger than I am or probably ever will be. Don’t take my word for it go and read his well researched and carefully crafted posts on the world of Renaissance art and especially on his great love Raphael. Hasan’s writing is passionate, scholarly, erudite, well informed and always eminently readable. He set a high standard and anybody starting out to blog about art history could do worse than to try and emulate him.
We quickly became Internet friends exchanging jokes and pointed comments on Twitter as well as directing each other to post by others that we thought the other my find interesting. Hasan took great delight in drawing my attention to historical bullshit that he thought I might take pleasure in demolishing and very often he was right. Some of my best demolition jobs were the result of a tip off from Hasan. We exchanged emails on arcane aspects of Renaissance history, he picking my brains on mathematical, scientific or technical details that lay outside of the scope of his wide ranging artistic knowledge. His questions were always interesting and I often learnt much in trying to answer them for him.
Hasan was true gentleman kind, generous, humorous, witty, always courteous and polite to a fault. The out pourings on Twitter yesterday evening as the news of his unexpected death spread through the Internet are a testament to his warm and generous personality. I never got to meet him in real life but he was much more of a friend than many that I meet everyday. I know I shall miss him, I do already, and his absence has left me feeling hurt, confused and angry. He was much younger than I and if one of us should be dead then it should be I and not him. Sometimes life is very unfair; sometimes life is just shit.