Stendhal Syndrome

Henri-Marie Beyle, or Stendhal

Stendhal syndrome is named after French author Henri-Marie Beyle (1783-1842), whose penname was Stendhal.

It refers to the symptoms experienced by a person who has been exposed to a work of art that is so beautiful or overwhelming that it causes an increased heartrate, dizziness, fainting and even hallucinations. Beyle himself experienced these symptoms while visiting Florence in 1817.

The name Stendhal syndrome was first given to these symptoms by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini in 1979, who described more than 100 similar cases among tourists and visitors in Florence in her essay La Sindrome di Stendhal (1989). Especially the Florentine Uffizi museum appears to be a significant cause of these psychological and physiological manifestations.

Stendhal syndrome is also called hyperkulturemia or Florence syndrome.