Traveling to Florence in the early 1800’s, a French writer using the pseudonym Stendhal, described the overwhelming sensations upon viewing the great works of the masters.
He said his racing heart and increasing sense of confusion robbed him of his composure. Ultimately he surrendered to this state of “delusions” which made him feel as though he were “at the side of a beloved woman.”
His description gave birth to what is now known as the “Stendhal Syndrome”; an affliction of which Cynthia and I are chronic sufferers.
As a Post Script, the source of this article, “Florence Art and Architecture” cryptically noted that over an eight year period, 107 cases of individuals suffering from this debilitating Stendahl Syndrome were treated in the psychiatric ward of S. Maria Nuova. The book went on to say that treatment was focused on the resulting manic and euphoric states. “The victims are generally single, middle-aged people traveling alone.”
The German author of the book also noted, “No Italians have ever been affected.”