fbpx
Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Stendhal Syndrome – The Art Fans Sickness

Just Weird

Stendhal Syndrome – The Art Fans Sickness

Stendhal Syndrome is a mysterious thing. If you have even seen someone fainting in any great museum, or in front of any great masterpieces – it could have been it.

Stendhal syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder. It causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of works of art that are perceived by the individual to be beautiful and all housed in one place (e.g., an art gallery).

stendhal syndrome

One of the most perpetrators of the Stendhal Syndrome

It is not listed as a recognised condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders but people are really affected by it. Its effects on some sufferers are serious enough for them to require treatment in hospital and even antidepressants. The staff at Florence’s Santa Maria Nuova hospital are accustomed to dealing with tourists suffering from dizzy spells and disorientation after admiring the statue of David and the masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery.

The syndrome was named in 1979, when it was described by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini, who observed and described more than 100 similar cases among tourists and visitors in Florence. It was named after the 19th-century French author Stendhal, who described his experience with the phenomenon during his 1817 visit to Florence in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.

Stendhal visited Basilica of Santa Croce, where Niccolò Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei are buried. He also saw Giotto’s frescoes for the first time and was overwhelmed with emotion. He wrote:

I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty… I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations… Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves.’ Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.

Ecstasy, sublime beauty, celestial sensations… Have you ever experienced the Stendhal Syndrome? 🙂

Art Historian, founder and CEO of DailyArtMagazine.com and DailyArt mobile app. But to be honest, her greatest accomplishment is being the owner of Pimpek the Cat.

Comments

More in Just Weird

  • dailyart

    The Top 10 Strange and Bizarre Paintings

    By

    For every picturesque painting, there is at least one strange and bizarre counterpart. We usually gloss over the oddities, because, well, they’re just weird. It’s almost like being the weird kid in middle school; you get put in your “box” and people peek in but don’t...

  • Caganer in the Nativity Scene Caganer in the Nativity Scene

    dailyart

    The Caganer: A Christmas Tradition

    By

    As Christmas approaches, many of us are probably decorating our homes for the holidays. Even though this year we might not be able to gather with our loved ones, the decoration of our home will hopefully bring us some joy. One of the main elements of...

  • dailyart

    A Controversial Christmas Tree in Venice

    By

    Weighing 9 tonnes, 10 metres tall, the 2020 Christmas Tree of Venice had become a scandal before it was lit up last week. Why? Because it’s not a typical green spruce or pine with colorful lights and baubles but a controversial digital installation. Fabrizio Plessi perplexes...

  • 19th Century

    The Mysterious Pinturas Negras Reveal Goya’s Darkest Secrets

    By

    There are already several articles that treat in detail the life and works of Francisco Goya. If you want to learn about his career or most famous works, look them up in our magazine because here we’ll dig for Goya’s darkest secrets, once hidden in the...

  • 20th century

    Miyatake Gaikotsu and his Puzzling Postcards

    By

    At the beginning of the 20th century, when Japan started embracing the West and rapid industrialization of almost all aspects of life, Miyatake Gaikotsu (funnily enough, gaikotsu means ‘skull/skeleton’ in Japanese) was the one who questioned and interpreted the nascent culture of modernization. And he did...

To Top