Posted by: blogone | October 15, 2006

Some people will see a lump of rock, others, a sculpture.

Remember my post about the David Bowie tune? Apparently there is a named condition called ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ that accounts for similar experiences. There are people who experience Stendhal Syndrome when viewing pieces of art like the Mona Lisa, or Michelangelo’s David, or even dare I say some David Bowie music 😉

I wonder if Stendhal Syndrome includes art other than painting & scultpure?

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.

Rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations result when an individual is exposed to particularly beautiful art, or large amounts of it in one place.

There is also a condition called ‘David Syndrome’ being studied in Italy with people who view Michelangelo’s David. The emotional impact varies from weeping to anger, with some people having feelings that tell them to destroy the sculpture.

Have you ever had any experience similar to Stendhal Syndrome, or have you gazed at the sculpture of David and felt an emotional impact?

If so, let me know I’d love to hear about it.



  1. I’ve not seen either, but there’s both a play and a film called “The Stendahl Syndrome,” unconnected except for the title and subject. The play is about a conductor–can’t remember the playwrite, but it was on Broadway a few years ago. The film is a police thriller by the Italian horror director Dario Argento.

  2. Crazy! Off I went to to check out the details of the movie. Made in 1996 here’s a link to the trailer:

  3. and here’s a link to the review of Terrence McNally’s play ‘The Stendhal Syndrome’ which is an Off-Broadway show.

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