Sedef's Corner

Art, Museums, Art History

1 note &

Light of Hasan

by Sister Mo Alato

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Hasan always recognized the layers of meaning & beauty in everything - art, music, literature, film & most importantly in people. I first became acquainted with him when he contacted me regarding an image I had posted on Twitter. It was a photograph I had taken - abstract but very specific to an important time in my life. Hasan was intrigued with the image & sensed a familiar understanding which we came to realize later connected us for a common reason.

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When I think back on our many conversations & when I read correspondence, there are so many amazing & wonderful facts about Hasan that stand out & deserve recognition. The charm, wit, charisma & colorful nature of his personality as well as the warmth, caring & energy of his spirit, his incredible mind are all details that those who know him will cherish always. I recall a few interesting facts that are special in my memory & may not be widely known.

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Blue Velvet: This film was Hasans favorite. He first saw Blue Velvet in 1990, age 13. The movie had been out four years by that time & was broadcast on public television which is where he first viewed it at home. When he first saw the film it struck him deeply, which at such a young age is not surprising. The spirit of the film spoke to him emotionally as well as aesthetically - it became his muse in all areas of his life & he referred to it frequently. I think we can all see the influence.

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Emma Kirkby & Verse: Hasan loved music. He had a passion & appreciation for all genres. Emma Kirkby was a long time favorite of his. He cherished her signed photograph from a concert where he met Kirkby. The song “Where Grypinge Griefs" will always remind me of Hasans spirit and light. The pure, clean beauty of Emma’s voice & the richness of her soul is a reflection of the same in Hasan.

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Peacocks: Hasan had a special interest for peacocks in art, daily life and spiritual concerns. The last year of his life was a time of great transition and awakening. The symbolic virtues of rebirth, evolution, beauty, knowledge and enlightenment resonated with him during this time. Hasan felt a kinship with the peacock and shared his passion by exchanging feathers with his loved ones. When you received a peacock feather from Hasan it was a sign of great respect, love and understanding.

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He once wrote:

Divine is the peacock
Whose myriad eyes
Inspire us to see
Grace and beauty
Both beyond and within

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Iki Gözüm: Iki Gözüm is a Turkish term of endearment which literally translated means “my two eyes”. The implied meaning is that “you are as special and loved as my own two eyes”. It was important to Hasan to express his feelings in potent and meaningful ways. This expression is one that he used often and I know that to all who knew him well İki gözüm is something we would say in return. Hasan was dear to all who allowed his influence into their lives and all who accepted his generosity and care.

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Hasan was a poet, and artist in all parts of his life. I leave you with a verse that he wrote in July 2013 which speaks his prolific spirit:

"Take a little step
Cast a little smile
Open up your heart
Move aside the tile.
Find behind the key
Seek beyond the door
Life presents a marvel,
Now and ever more.”
H - 7/2013
image The Tree outside Hasan’s Apartment

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Where he used to run every night.

Filed under raphaelhasan Hasan Niyazi 3PP

2 notes &

Raphael and the Rebirth of Hasan Niyazi

by Solmaz Niyazi

"Our experience of art is invariably personal, and undoubtedly subjective. How we process a painting, sculpture or film is dependent on a myriad of factors from our own past and present, and includes elements of prior knowledge and experience of language, images and sound." Hasan Niyazi

Hasan Niyazi had been enamored of the work of Raphael for most of his life. His intense love for this artist was rooted in his own childhood experiences, which conditioned his entire life, including his special relationship with Raphael. Despite grave personal challenges, he was able to find refuge in his love for art and in the intellect of his own mind.

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Madonna and Child with Book, c. 1502-03, Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA

From an early age, Hasan was able to recognize the transcendent value of Raphael’s art, finding there an unequaled sense of balance, harmony and surface perfection—everything, in fact, that was missing from his own life. For most of Hasan’s adult years, he was abandoned by his family and this estrangement affected him deeply. For him, art and in particular the art of Raphael was therapeutic if not entirely curative. Not only did it provide solace, it empowered him with knowledge and—most valuably—self-knowledge.  Raphael’s Madonnas with Child spoke to him most directly and resonated most deeply.

"I never achieved greatness in my chosen profession, because it was not really my chosen profession. It was a choice for stable employment made by a young man who felt helpless to choose anything else. I was intensely interested in Western literature and art when I was young, and it was perpetually discouraged by my father. When I was 15, I made a decent drawn copy of the Madonna and child from Raphael’s "Sistine Madonna" It was placed in the school library and stayed there for a few years. Although the image did not speak to me at a religious level, the love Raphael painted into the mother’s eyes was unmistakingly plain for all to see. When I first showed it to my father, he scowled and said "necin cizdin bunu?….biraz sonra istavroz takacaksin" (why did you draw this?…pretty soon you will be wearing the cross.) It was a moment that haunts me to this day, as I realize my family will just never "get" my passion" Hasan Niyazi

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The Garvagh Madonna, 1509-10, The National Gallery, London, UK

For Hasan, the search for knowledge and beauty was intensely personal—as it is, ultimately, for most people. And the Renaissance offered a compelling model for his own search.

"As much as it was of course about money and vanity, the Renaissance was introduced to me as a student in the typical way. For the first time in history, the intellect of the individual became the focus of the world - this was called Humanism - which is of course a very simplistic reduction of the period, but that idea took hold of me in a powerful way and has shaped everything I do.” Hasan Niyazi

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School of Athens (fresco) in the Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican Palace, 1509-11

The emergence of humanism in the Renaissance was an intense process of social, cultural and educational reform and self-realization. These values constitute the central theme in Raphael’s School of Athens, offering a glimpse of human capability and achievement at its most exalted. The fresco depicts an assembly of the most eminent philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians of the ancient world—showing them in the very act of striving for truth and fulfilling their human potential. Achievement and self-fulfillment were both crucial for Hasan—two constant goals in his life.

" I was very isolated from art because my parents simply were not tuned into them. I did not get even to go see a movie in a cinema until I was 17. My interest in western art and literature was discouraged, and at one point my father even talked me into selling my entire book collection (I was 21 at the time and did not have the strength or awareness to question him)" Hasan Niyazi

Through determination, perseverance and personal courage, Hasan overcame many obstacles in pursuit of what he loved.  Raphael and the Renaissance formed a dual theme throughout his life. Renaissance means “rebirth” and this is exactly what Hasan managed to accomplish in the course of his too short life.  On the physical level, he lost over fifty pounds and became a committed marathon runner.  And on the spiritual level, he channeled the sorrows and frustrations of his life into his passion for art.

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Hasan Niyazi

Hasan’s love for classical “high art” ran deep, but he had other more modern passions, ranging from video games to cinema. His favorite director was David Lynch and his favorite film was Blue Velvet. He first saw it on television when he was only 12 and even at that  young age, the film seemed to speak to him personally.  Hasan often joked…”my entire life seems to have been shaped by David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.” 

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"David Lynch’s work is perennially obsessed with the dual aspect of human nature - what we show to the world and what stirs within us." Hasan Niyazi

The 1986 film is steeped in symbolism and shaped by Lynch’s distinctively skewed vision and defining sense of polarized worlds. Both of these qualities intrigued Hasan and at the end of Blue Velvet, we see split worlds come together, achieving beauty in the midst of an imperfect reality. All of this—inevitably—resonated strongly with Hasan.

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Hasan’s table, left to right: Sedef Piker and Solmaz Niyazi, Solmaz Niyazi, Josie and Hasan Niyazi, Gemma Garcia and Hasan Niyazi, Sharon Bishop and Hasan Niyazi, various miniature portraits of Raphael

Hasan’s greatest passion, however, was reserved for his friends. Human relationships were crucially important to him and he treasured other people, with all of their oddities and imperfections. He was a great connector of people who fostered the coming together of his friends. His caring and generous nature instantly drew others towards him and he had a vast family of friends around the world.  Every member of Hasan’s circle had a unique value for him. And his compassion, sincerity and kindness were—and will remain—prized gifts to all who were touched by him. 

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Florence, left to right: Dr. Edward Goldberg, Jane Fortune, Dr. Alexandra Korey, Sandra Perrone

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Madrid, left to right: Gemma Garcia and Hasan Niyazi

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New York, left to right: Dr. Ben Harvey, Dr. Frank Destefano, Sedef Piker, Monica Bowen

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Florence, from left to right: Jenna Francisco, Hasan Niyazi, Dr. Melissa Pignatelli, Sucheta Rawal and husband

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Istanbul, Hagia Sophia, from left to right: Dr. Ed Goldberg, Solmaz Niyazi

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New York, Metropolitan Museum, Ancient Cyprus Gallery, left to right, Dr. Ed Goldberg, Sedef Piker

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Istanbul, from left to right, Sedef Piker, Solmaz Niyazi

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Florence, left to right: Dr. Alexandra Korey, Hasan Niyazi

Hasan eventually succeeded in creating a network of friends and colleagues around the world who shared his passions and above all prized his unique contribution to life and scholarship. He will live in our hearts and minds as long as we do. In his blog, Three Pipe Problem, we will continue to hear his voice. And then there is his visionary project, Open Raphael Online, which we are committed to realizing in the years to come. ORO will figure as the cornerstone of Hasan’s legacy and the ultimate demonstration of his genius.

Filed under raphaelhasan Hasan Niyazi 3pipe.net

3 notes &

It’s #WomensHistoryMonth always in Gallery 613 @metmuseum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a gallery that is almost wholly devoted to female artists from 18th century revolutionary France. Two of these artists, Marie Guillelmine Benoist and Marie Denise Villiers are pupils of Jacques-Louis David who exhibited these paintings at the Salon of 1802 and 1801 respectively.

Adelaide Labille-Guiard and Elisabeth Louise Vigee-LeBrun were both admitted to the Academie Royale de Peinture et Sculpture, the most prestigious position any artist could hope to attain.

Gallery 613 has been arranged as ‘The Salon on the Eve of the Revolution’ displaying “the extraordinary level of naturalism and finesse achieved by French portrait painters at the closing decades of the eighteenth-century.” Even though the gallery contains few paintings by male artists as well, I will still think of this gallery as the gallery of the female artists.

Filed under Metropolitan Museum of Art 18th century French Neoclassical Painting Women's History Month

1 note &

Diego Rivera, Mandragora, 1939, San Diego Museum of Art

Diego Rivera created many portraits during his long career. Some portrayed unnamed individuals who agreed to pose for the artist, while others depicted friends and well-known figures such as artist Angelina Baloff and Adolfo Olmedo. The sitter of this work has been identified as Maya Guarina. The delicate lace headpiece and dress worn by Guarina contrast with the skull she holds in her hands and the spider web in the upper left-hand corner. In the upper right- hand corner emerges a small mandrake, a plant identified as a hallucinogen and associated with magic. While these objects might reveal something about Guarina, they also contribute to an enigmatic portrait with Surrealist qualities. - Museum Label

Diego Rivera, Mandragora, 1939, San Diego Museum of Art

Diego Rivera created many portraits during his long career. Some portrayed unnamed individuals who agreed to pose for the artist, while others depicted friends and well-known figures such as artist Angelina Baloff and Adolfo Olmedo. The sitter of this work has been identified as Maya Guarina. The delicate lace headpiece and dress worn by Guarina contrast with the skull she holds in her hands and the spider web in the upper left-hand corner. In the upper right- hand corner emerges a small mandrake, a plant identified as a hallucinogen and associated with magic. While these objects might reveal something about Guarina, they also contribute to an enigmatic portrait with Surrealist qualities. - Museum Label

Filed under Diego Rivera San Diego Museum of Art Surrealism 20th century

1 note &

Four #Muses from @thegetty villa in Malibu for #MuseumWeek

Muses, Roman, about A.D. 200, Marble, pigment and gold, The Getty Villa, Malibu.

The word “museum” denotes an institution filled with the presence of Muses. Nine goddesses of the arts and sciences who inspired poets and philosophers, the Muses were daughters of Jupiter. All the four Muses displayed at the Getty Villa still have traces of pigment on their eyes and lips indicating they were once brightly painted and Polyhymnia, Muse of Mime (the first one) even has gold leaf in her hair suggesting being fully gilded. - Museum Label

Filed under Roman Sculpture thegetty 200AD MuseumWeek

1 note &

I have found the perfect complement to (my) painting, Sargent’s Madame X… Dr. Pozzi at Home, 1881 @hammer_museum

I have always admired Madame X, not only for her scandalous story but for her high and mighty attitude as well. In Dr. Pozzi, she seems to have met her match. I wonder if they ever met in Paris. He was a very famous gynecologist, she moved around in high society… Even if there is no connection between the two, they are such striking figures that I will always think of them in connection to one another.

Filed under Hammer Museum John Singer Sargent Madame X Metropolitan Museum of Art