The Sheldon Syndrome or Florence Syndrome
Also referred to as hyperkulturemia is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, 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 applied in circumstances when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.
The illness is named after the famous 19th Century French author Stendal 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.
Although there are many descriptions of people becoming dizzy and fainting while taking in Florentine art, especially at the Uffizi, 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. I doubt anyone has ever experienced the Sheldon Syndrome in a museum of contemporary art.
Sit back and enjoy a little tour of the Uffizi.
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