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Stendhal Syndrome: About

Stendhal Syndrome

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What is Stendhal Syndrome?

Art can bring up many emotions, including joy, sadness, and anger. But is it possible to have significant mental or physical symptoms after an encounter with a piece of art? This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as an art attack. The more official name is Stendhal syndrome. Stendhal syndrome refers to a collection of intense physical and mental symptoms you may experience while or after viewing a work of art.

According to 2021 research, it’s considered a psychosomatic disorder. This means you may have intense psychological symptoms that also cause physical ones. Stendhal syndrome was first described in 1989 by Graziella Magherini, an Italian psychiatrist, note researchers of 2020 overview of the condition. The word “Stendhal” comes from the name of romance author Marie-Henri Beyle’s pseudonym. Beyle himself described an overwhelming encounter in 1817 during a visit to Florence’s Basilica of Santa Croce, according to the 2021 research mentioned earlier.

This condition is also sometimes called “Florentine syndrome,” according to researchers in 2018. This is because Magherini came up with it while working at a hospital in Florence where she treated more than 100 visitors after they experienced symptoms from looking at art in the area, per the aforementioned 2021 research. Another name for the condition is aesthetic sickness.

Though Magherini coined the term just over 3 decades ago, the symptoms and experiences associated with Stendhal syndrome are not new. Even some historical figures are thought to have experienced Stendhal syndrome in the past, including psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, according to the researchers in 2018. While considered a well-documented condition, Stendhal syndrome is not included in the latest edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” Continue reading from Healthline

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