Stendhal Syndrome: Illness Caused By Intense Beauty


Stendhal syndrome is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art that is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction when a person is affected from beauty in the natural world.

The illness is named after the famous 19th century French author Stendhal (pseudonym of Henri-Marie Beyle), 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.

Although there are many descriptions of people becoming dizzy and fainting while taking in Florentine art 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.

Source: Wikipedia