Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Stendhal Syndrome Anyone?

Once in a while some piece of art or music catches me out and I have a very physical response to it.  I call it the "weak knees and cold chills" response. I love it when that happens.  It leaves me feeling very alive and at peace.

The finale of Mahler's Third Symphony does it every time.  Live performance is better but the CD of the Berlin Philharmonic will do.

As does "In Moses Soyer's Studio" (photograph by Larry Fink -- Portland Art Museum has a copy) does it, too.

So does "Paris Street; Rainy Day" (painting by Gustave Caillebotte -- at the Art Institute of Chicago)

The queen, however, is "Girl with a Pearl Earring" (Painting by Vermeer -- at a show in the de Young in San Francisco).  I walked from left to right in front of it.  When I got to the far right my eyes met the sight line of the girl in the painting.  I stood there dumbstruck until my wife came and dragged me away.)

Turns out a visceral response to art isn't that unusual.

I stumbled across "Stendhal Syndrome" while looking for something else (the only way I find unusual bits of information).  The first definition according to Professor Google:

"Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal's syndrome or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic condition involving rapid heartbeat, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations, allegedly occurring when individuals become exposed to objects or phenomena of great beauty"

I have a mild case of it and I wouldn't want to lose it.

Any other sufferers out there?