Stendhal Syndrome Is A Curious Condition That Actually Causes Artwork Admirerers To Have An “Art Attack” And Experience Intense Physical And Emotional Symptoms Of Overwhelm

guruXOX - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Imagine standing in front of a piece of art, and as you’re witnessing the splendor of that particular masterpiece, you are suddenly struck with dizziness, heart palpitations, or even hallucinations.

This peculiar phenomenon is called Stendhal syndrome. It’s when art admirers have an “art attack.” They become so overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the artwork in front of them that they experience significant physical and emotional symptoms.

The curious condition has a relatively long history. Stendhal syndrome was first described by an Italian psychiatrist in 1989. Its name comes from the 19th-century French romance writer Stendhal, who went by the pseudonym Marie-Henri Beyle. The author detailed his own experience of feeling overwhelmed by the art and architecture during a visit to Florence, Italy, in 1817.

Causes of Stendhal Syndrome

Stendhal syndrome is considered extremely rare. It’s mostly seen in adults ages 26 to 40 and is said to develop after encountering something intensely beautiful. A higher incidence of Stendhal syndrome has been seen in people who are single, very religious, or nearing the end of their travels.

Intricate artwork and architecture are the top causes of Stendhal syndrome. Research has shown that it might also have something to do with the location of the art. The condition commonly occurs among tourists who travel to cities that are known for their art museums, architecture, historical past, and culture. These cities may include Athens, Paris, Rome,  Florence, and Tokyo.

Other travel-related factors that could contribute to the onset of Stendhal syndrome include stress, jet lag, lack of sleep, dehydration, hunger, and sun exposure.

Symptoms of Stendhal Syndrome

The symptoms of this condition can be both mental and physical. There are three main symptoms in people who have experienced Stendhal syndrome. The first is an altered perception of colors or sounds, along with an increased sense of guilt or anxiety.

guruXOX – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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