The challenge that lots of gurus have with describing Stendhal syndrome as its personal psychiatric problem is that its indications are so difficult to parse from those of more normal afflictions that frequently affect visitors. “Often at the Uffizi, specific site visitors have coronary heart attacks, or experience sick,” mentioned Cristina de Loreto, a psychotherapist who lives and performs in Florence. “But it could just be remaining in an enclosed room with hundreds of other people today. It could be agoraphobia, not Botticelli.”
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An psychological reaction to art, she explained, does not represent a psychiatric condition, even if it prospects or contributes to distressing or perilous symptoms. “At the moment when you might be observing a piece of art, there are specific mind areas that are activated – it is like when you see a wonderful person or girl – but it is not ample to say it is really a syndrome. It truly is not still validated, and you can’t obtain it in the DSM-5, our handbook of psychological diseases.”
Di Loreto thinks that one thing else may well be at perform: that tourists’ expectations of Florence are so superior, fuelled by the ubiquity of its artworks in several media, that it all turns into far too a great deal when they ultimately check out. “It may possibly be a self-fulfilling prophecy, which will make some visitors sense anything in the air in Florence,” she claimed.
In this regard, Stendhal syndrome may perhaps be connected to Jerusalem syndrome, which sees readers to that holy metropolis crack down in psychotic spiritual or messianic delusions and Paris syndrome, which will cause travelers to come down with acute psychiatric signs upon acquiring that the French money does not match their unrealistically large anticipations.
Stendhal’s possess words and phrases – “a type of ecstasy from the concept of remaining in Florence” – appear to be to lend this concept some credence. Perhaps a self-satisfying prophecy is also at enjoy in the media coverage of alleged scenarios of Stendhal syndrome, this kind of as Olmastroni’s – journalists, enchanted by the intimate idea of getting to be “art ill”, diagnose people today wishfully from afar.