Sep 1, 2009

Did you know?

by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,

Stendhal syndrome

French author Henri Beyle Stendhal
Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal's syndrome, Hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome, is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place.

The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choice in other circumstances, e.g. when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.

It is named after the famous 19th century French author Stendhal (pseudonym of Henri-Marie Beyle), who described his experience with the phenomen during his 1817 visit to Florence , Italy in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.

Although there are many descriptions of people becoming dizzy and fainting while taking in Florentine art, especially at the Uffizi, dating from the early 19th century on, the syndrome was only 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. The syndrome was first diagnosed in 1982.

The term is often used when describing the reactions of audiences to music of the Romantic period.

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