Stendhal syndrome

Stendhal syndrome

Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal's syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to an experience of great personal significance, particularly viewing art.[1] The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Stendhal syndrome was named after Henri-Marie Beyle (1783–1842), better known by his penname Stendhal.

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.

When he visited the [2]

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. There is no scientific evidence to define the Stendhal Syndrome as a specific psychiatric disorder; on the other hand there is evidence that the same cerebral areas involved in emotional reactions are activated during the exposure to artworks. [3]

See also


  1. ^ Nicholson, T. R. J.; Pariante, C.; McLoughlin, D. (2009). "Stendhal syndrome: A case of cultural overload". Case Reports 2009: bcr0620080317.  
  2. ^ Interfaces of Performance, Maria Chatzichristodoulou, Janis Jefferies, Rachel Zerihan, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2009 p196 ISBN 9781409486145
  3. ^ Innocenti Claudia, Fioravanti Giulia, Spiti Raffaello, Faravelli Carlo: The Stendhal Syndrome between Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience. Rivista di Psichiatria. 2014 Mar-Apr;49(2):61-6

External links

  • Word Spy definition
  • Graziella Magherini. La Sindrome di Stendhal. Firenze, Ponte Alle Grazie, 1989. (Italian)
  • Melinda Guy (January–February 2003). "The Shock of the Old".