My website, MyGiorgione, now includes my interpretations of Giorgione's "Tempest" as "The Rest on the Flight into Egypt"; his "Three Ages of Man" as "The Encounter of Jesus with the Rich Young Man"; Titian's, "Sacred and Profane Love" as "The Conversion of Mary Magdalen"; and Titian's "Pastoral Concert" as his "Homage to Giorgione".

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Hasan Niyazi Correspondence

Hasan Niyazi, the creator of the very popular art history blog "Three Pipe Problem,"passed away at the end of October 2013. He was only in his early thirties. Hasan's family were Turkish Cypriots who migrated to Australia when Hasan was just a boy. I first encountered Hasan in July of 2010 when I came across a blog post he had written about a video analysis of Giorgione's famous and mysterious painting, "The Tempest." The video was by a well known and popular art history personality in England
Hasan Niyazi in Florence

Earlier that year I had presented my paper on the "Tempest" at the annual meeting of the Renaissance Society of America which was held that year in Venice on the 500th anniversary of Giorgione's death.    After reading his post and watching the accompanying video, I felt the video analysis was superficial and off the mark. I commented on Hasan's post and it led to an extensive back and forth. At first, he found it difficult to accept my interpretation of the painting but, characteristically, he was open to it and willing to engage in discussion, especially if the arguments were based on sound evidence and not just feelings.

Eventually, we began to correspond privately. Hasan proved to be a real art history pioneer on the web and his blog would become one of the most popular art history sites online. He was a real believer in the value of the Internet. Here is one of his first emails dated 11/3/2010. As usual, he just signed it "H".

Hi Frank 
I have been working on something that will make it easier for those interested in art and history to find other sites. I myself am disappointed by having to find others sites by image searches and luck. Typing 'Giorgione Tempest' into google doesn't reveal your site straight away because it is based on popularity, not content. 
I have been working on a custom search engine/page/site listing which will be open to anyone to view and search. I would invite you to have a look/try - eg., type 'giorgione tempest' into the search engine on the home page and see your site appear much earlier in the listings than in google, which gets crammed with sites offering posters and reproductions, online galleries etc.

If you like the idea, and want others to be able to find your site by a topic search, please fill in the very simple registration form, which collects no private info. I could have easily done this myself but wanted to give you a chance to have a sneak peek at the site.

I must stress that it isn't directly related to what I am working on with Alexandra but I have a feeling it will come in handy for that in future :)
This is the temporary address of the site - its not publicly listed yet until I change its web address to something easy like
what do you think??
A voluminous correspondence ensued. We did not always see eye to eye and he was not reluctant to criticize, often heatedly. But he was always quick to answer and thorough-going in his responses. He was always a great help in navigating the intricacies of blogging. It is only now, two years after his sudden and tragic death at such an early age, that I have come to realize how much he meant to me. I was more than twice as old as him but it didn't seem to matter that we were of a different generation. His words and comments were an incredible stimulus to a senior citizen inclined to get sloppy or goof off.

More than that, I believe we became good friends. I admired his love of the Renaissance, especially Raphael, and his great energy and enthusiasm. Often, he would respond when I knew it must have been the wee hours of the morning in Australia. I like to think that we learned a lot from each other. We never met in person but he was as good a friend as I have ever had.

One of his last letters to me spoke of his continued admiration for Raphael but now I see that there was also a hint of trouble. Here is an excerpt dated August 28, 2013.

Greetings Frank, 
I hope to find you well. I am doing OK, in case you are curious. I am adjusting to life on my own - but am also meeting with pleasing success with regards to my work, so I am endeavoring to focus on that. Emotionally, things do get a little fraught at times, but contemplating the sublime grace of a Raphael Madonna often has a calming effect. All will be well I sense, I just need to keep working, and allow some time...

He ended his last post at 3PP with words affirming the importance of the Internet fro art history.

The future of art history and the internet is a very exciting prospect. This goes beyond the fact that more art historians and institutions are engaging online, but also expands to include an increased public participation and interest in learning about art and history outside of an institutional and pedagogical content. The web allows quality knowledge, and fascinating images and video to be accessible everywhere, and by everyone—hence the potential for art history online is essentially limitless.



  1. Frank, I read this post several months ago, but didn't have an opportunity to write a comment. Now that the summer months are here, I'm hoping to get into blogging more actively. This also means that I have been thinking more about Hasan lately and the impact he had on my online work. What an amazing person! I love that rewrote "the potential for art history online is essentially limitless." I couldn't agree more, and I hope to honor Hasan's hopes as I continue my own research and writing online.

  2. Thanks for the comment about Hasan. I still think of him. Now that you mention it, maybe I'll try to print some more of his correspondence. I recall that we had spirited exchanges about my interpretation of Titian's Sacred and Profane Love, and my review of Leo Sternberg's book on the Last Supper. Both appeared as guest posts on 3PP.