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Stendahl Syndrome

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Stendhal syndrome or Stendhal's 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 shopping.

It 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, 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.

A psychosomatic reaction to exposure to art? Or the natural result of standing on your feet in an art gallery when you have dysautonomia? I would get an attack of Stendahl syndrome (sans hallucinations, fortunately) in any art gallery, even if the art were not particularly beautiful. I also get it when shopping, even when there isn't really much to choose from.

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thats really interesting. I wonder if it was something like POTS or POTS itself but they didn't know how or what to investigate further. I wouldn't be suprised if there were various psychosomatic reactions such as that, but to find it in 100 or more people in the same location, sounds a bit extreme, though they don't mention how many people were observed.

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I would think this is some kind of joke--but coming from you, I suppose this is real!

I have definitely had these symptoms in an art gallery (but, yes, alas? no hallucinations) as well as during grocery shopping, etc. No connection to aesthetics tho. Sounds like dysautonomia to me! B)

I just did a quick search -- it is now known as "David syndrome" apparently:



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How strange!

Same here with regards to supermarkets or huge shops with bright lights and aisles. Never been in an art gallery tho.

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