The Stendhal Syndrome

Dear Artist, Last night, Aili Kurtis of Perth, Ontario, wrote, “I want to draw your attention to ‘The Stendhal Syndrome’ — the condition of being dangerously overwhelmed by beauty in either art or nature. Have you or any of our readers experienced it?” Thanks, Aili. The condition was first described in 1979 by the Italian psychiatrist, Gaziella Magherini, after studying more than 100 cases among visitors to the Uffizi in Florence. A concentration of particularly beautiful art can cause rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion and even hallucinations. It’s named after the 19th century French author, Stendhal, who described the experience in his 1817 book, Rome, Naples, and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio. In my case, it happened when I first laid eyes on Monet’s panoramic water lilies in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. At the time, I thought my breathless confusion and pounding heart was akin to the opera buff who jumps so far out of his seat that you can see the entire orchestra pit beneath his bottom. In other words, I figured it might be a form of self-applause for my own sensitivity. Apart from the excitement of finally seeing in the flesh what one has so often seen in books, I concluded there was more to the condition than I originally thought. Life is a passage through a museum of beauty. While the presence of art may be disarming, for artists and others the experience of the wonders of Nature may even rival other high exaltations. Let’s face it, though, folks range widely in what turns them on — think of those who get their kicks from hockey, golf, bridge, poker, bowling, skiing, antique music-boxes or numismatics. Knowing Stendhal, you might guess why he was close to being face down in Florence. Stendhal was an aesthete, an enthusiast, a humanist, and an all-round imbiber in the joys of life — a lot like many who might be reading this letter. Best regards, Robert PS: “As I emerged from the porch of Santa Croce, I was seized with a fierce palpitation of the heart; the wellspring of life was dried up within me, and I walked in constant fear of falling to the ground.” (Stendhal, nom de plume of Marie-Henrie Beyle, 1817) Esoterica: While artists may succumb to the Stendhal Syndrome, it’s often the observant aficionado who really gets sick. But, like Aili wrote in her note, I’m thinking artists are rather frequently attacked. Readers may consider sending their Stendhalian experiences to Regarding my own visit to the Basilica di Santa Croce, I, too, stepped onto the sizzling piazza in a state of delirium. Perhaps knowing of Stendhal’s prior visit had done me in, but more likely it was because I’d been standing over the remains of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and Rossini. One tends to run a temperature in that sort of company — a condition that, in my case, was only cooled down by a Florentine gelato.   Aili Kurtis

“Mountain Reflections”
oil painting
36 x 48 inches


oil painting
36 x 48 inches


“Soft Ripples I”
oil painting
16 x 20 inches


“The Watchers”
oil painting
36 x 48 inches

          Art school experiment by Ed Varney, Courtenay, BC, Canada  

mixed media
by Ed Varney

In the early ’90s, Terry Loychuk, Gilles Foisy and I did a project at the Emily Carr College of Art which was inspired by Magherini’s research. We created an art viewing booth and used a pulse meter to measure people’s physical reactions to various artworks and then asked them questions about what they had experienced. The results of our experiment have never been published. Our original theory was that people were not really conscious of what they liked which turned out to be somewhat true, but a more interesting observation was that, independent of what they said, people responded more to black and white images and paintings than they did to colour. Our conclusion was that black and white images spoke to a deeper level of the subconscious than colour. Perhaps someday, we (or somebody else) should repeat the experiment with a larger number of people (we tested about 100) and see if they would reach the same conclusions. There are 3 comments for Art school experiment by Ed Varney
From: Susan Kellogg, Austin, TX — Jan 22, 2013

What a great idea! It may be that color is a distraction and black and white is the royal road. My favorite movies are in black and white. I would never paint in black and white, though. Were any of the black and white images photographs of paintings originally in color…so many ideas triggered by your post!

From: Anonymous — Jan 22, 2013

Pulse can go up from different reasons – increased effort to see what’s in the black and white image, dislike, amusement, association or recognition etc. Concluding that people only like what raises their pulse sounds questionable. The experiment is still interesting though.

From: Alexi Blackwell — Jan 23, 2013

Perhaps the reaction is due to the extreme contrast. I know that pushing the darks and lights in my paintings increasing the impact dramatically. Perhaps the extreme contrast in black and white is what drives the reaction.

  Every face tells a story by Apryl Anderson, Aix-en-Provence, France  

film photograph
by Apryl Anderson

A walk in the woods or a museum visit often have the effect of helping me remember that the world really IS a better place, but my one and only true ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ moment was in the Zwinger (the Old Masters’ Gallery) in Dresden 2 years ago. There is a room of 18th century pastel portraits that absolutely swept me away! Every face tells a story, and it truly took my breath away.   Creativity experienced as a dialogue by Ken Paul, Eugene, OR, USA  

“Iron John”
by Ken Paul

I’ve been an artist who has mumbled to “himself” for many years while wrestling with a new opus. I was quite self-conscious about this initially, but it turned into a regular feature of my process. It was only in later years that I more fully appreciated what this was really all about. Most denizens of Western culture probably think of art-making as a monologue — a one-way flow of creative energy from the artist in an inspired moment. Once begun, the work is imagined to take form by way of the maker’s talent, insight, imagination, skill, inspiration — even “genius” in special cases. Such a view probably stems mostly from looking at finished works without the benefit of having much first-hand experience of its particular process. When I was teaching in a college studio arts program, one of our graduate students remarked that she experienced creativity as a dialogue rather than a monologue. This nailed it for me: the agency which I was really talking to rather than just “me” was the “muse,” the “other,” the embodiment of that aspect of the work which seems to have a life of its own. I fully agree that there’s an element of surrender involved here. Many readers will remember the ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his “dummy” Charlie McCarthy. Daughter Candice Bergen tells of entering his room unannounced, to find him talking to Charlie. She listened quietly for a couple of minutes before Edgar noticed her presence. He said “Oh, you caught us! I actually talk with Charlie in private all the time; he is one of the wisest people I ever met!” There are 2 comments for Creativity experienced as a dialogue by Ken Paul
From: Darrell Baschak — Jan 22, 2013

Ken, I firmly believe that the processes involved in any art making are a dialogue with something unseen but felt nevertheless. I am sure that the viewing public would be amazed at what goes on in an artists studio, surely dispelling erroneous notions of genius. It is comforting to know there are others who feel the same sentiments. Love your collage!

From: Jim Carpenter — Jan 22, 2013

Yes. It is a dialogue for me too. When there are witnesses, it can be quite humorous. The question of who or what I am talking to is a good one.

  Wider presence of Stendahl syndrome by Alana Dill, Alameda, CA, USA  

“Boys & Girls Come Out To Play”
pumpkin carving
by Alana Dill

Whoa, it’s not just me! Just thought I was kind of nuts. I had a very similar experience at NYMOMA, looking at a large painting of Monet’s water lilies. I have amblyopia, which means one eye is so different in prescription from the other that my dominant eye (which is nearsighted) takes over. My “lazy” eye doesn’t consciously register unless forced to. Looking at the lily painting, which was so large, and its contrast of coral-to-pink flowers, green leaves, and deep blue water… well, my eyes danced around and there were so many after-images that it literally looked like the water was sparkling and moving. That’s the physical description. The emotional description is that I burst into tears and had to sit down and cry. I was pregnant, too, so that’s part of it. But it was the painting that triggered this reaction, not the pregnancy. It’s pretty rare to be so captivated by still art. I’ve had strong emotional reactions to music or to particular scenarios in nature (i.e. Yosemite Valley and the Grand Tetons). And then there are movies. I think Stendahl syndrome, or variations on it, might be pretty common, we just don’t notice them so much. There is 1 comment for Wider presence of Stendahl syndrome by Alana Dill
From: Anonymous — Feb 15, 2013

I had the same reaction in the Impressionist gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. My party of three met from our various roamings in the gallery and as a group decided to go back where I had just been. Again, as I entered the great room completely filled with the paintings I had so often seen in books, I astarted to weep.

  Painting gets a sound track by John DeCuir, La Crescenta, CA, USA  

“Starry night”
oil painting
by Vincent van Gogh

My Stendhalian experience came when I was in New York, working on a film location. It was a Sunday, our one day off, so I donned my earphones (plugged into my pocket radio, no iPods in those days) and headed out to walk the town and perhaps do a little sketching. Visiting the Museum of Modern Art was not on my agenda that day but it started to rain, and then the rain came down in sheets. As I found myself walking past the museum, I took cover. Once inside and coming around the corner, I spotted Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, an old favorite of mine. At that very moment, a moment of total serendipity, Don McLean’s “Starry Starry Night” came booming in over my earphones. Fortunately there was an empty bench nearby upon which I collapsed and my Stendhalian experience began. It ranged from palpitations to heat flashes. A lovely print of Starry Night hangs in my studio, and always will, as a reminder of that most wonderfully visual and melodic moment. There are 2 comments for Painting gets a sound track by John DeCuir
From: Melodie Mitchell — Jan 21, 2013

Your experience of looking at the beauty of Vincent van Gogh’s painting Starry Night, and at the same time hearing the achingly beautiful “Starry Starry Night” by Don McLean, especially when unplanned, could truly be described as one of life’s best moments….in my opinion, it doesn’t get any better than that! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

From: Jim Carpenter — Jan 22, 2013

I had just such a moment (sans music) at the East Wing of the National Gallery in DC. I had spent two hours roaming and was heading out of the last gallery when I turned a corner and came face to face with van Gogh’s “White Roses.” it literally stopped me in my tracks, I could hear my heart pounding, sensed that my breath had quickened, (literally took my breath away?), and brought tears to my eyes. It was a stunning experience- and now when I write about it I realize rthat it reveals the lost meaning of many cliches. The energy in that painting was palpable, and all I could think of was how present the painter is in that painting.

  Overcome by Rothko by Diane Furlong, Oranda, Virginia, USA  

“Evening Grove”
pastel painting
by Diane Furlong

This is not quite the same thing, but I am still “dangerously overwhelmed.” There is a small gallery within the larger Phillips Collection gallery in Washington, DC that is devoted to the work of Mark Rothko. I always approach the Rothko Room with a growing feeling of nervousness for I know what is to come. It never fails that when I stand in the center of the room surrounded by the 4 Rothkos on the walls, I am overcome with emotion. It washes down over me in a powerful wave and I can hear the beginnings of celestial music. Then the tears start filling my eyes and the moment slowly fades as I realize the other viewers must think there is something wrong with me. Thank goodness there is one bench in the room because I must sink down upon some sturdy support to collect myself again. There is 1 comment for Overcome by Rothko by Diane Furlong
From: George Hoffman — Jan 22, 2013

Diane, I think I can say with some certainty that there are those who likely view your work with the same reverence and passion. You have a real gift for evoking love for the familiar, for making the everyday landscape shrine-like to the viewer! I am proud to know you!

  Connecting with a Rembrandt by Bob Drake, Damariscotta, ME, USA  

“Yellow light”
pastel painting
by Bob Drake

Interesting that there is a clinical description for this, as it suggests that it is more prevalent than we might expect. I personally had the experience standing in front of a late Rembrandt self-portrait in the Musee D’orsay. As I looked at the image I realized that he had stood pretty much where I was standing, and looked into his own eyes and knew that he was an old man and was soon to die. Gone was the bravura and youthful strength of earlier self-portraits. The feeling was overwhelming. I had to take a seat for a while, as tears welled up in my eyes. What a communication over the centuries. There is 1 comment for Connecting with a Rembrandt by Bob Drake
From: Michael Jorden, Osoyoos — Jan 22, 2013

A knowledgeable artist friend calls this the capital ‘A’ Art Experience. I have had it in the Vancouver Art Gallery looking at a Christopher Pratt painting of a dog coming out of a marsh. Wish I could find it again.

  Monitoring the emotional barometer by Robin Leddy Giustina, Sacramento, California, USA  

“Dog orgy”
mixed media
by Robin Leddy Giustina

I walked into the room in the Uffizi filled with all of the Botticelli’s and my emotional barometer went from a 5 to 25, in one fast second. I burst into tears! Now, I am not like that. I consider myself an even keeled sort of person. My husband walked into the gallery at that moment and saw me shaking and quivering and the gallery guard looked at the two of us with disapproval because he thought we may have been squabbling. It was just that the Botticelli paintings were so powerfully beautiful and they literally took my breath away. Their collected impact was huge, like an explosion going off and I responded emotionally. I will never forget that moment. I did not know that there was a name for that feeling “Stendhalian.” I learned that I am not alone. There are 2 comments for Monitoring the emotional barometer by Robin Leddy Giustina
From: Cuidado/Mary MacADNski — Feb 15, 2013

It was a new term for me too and I am glad I share the phenomenon. I thought I was the only one.

From: Jean — Mar 04, 2013

Mary, I had to add, the Botticellis did the same thing to me. After the art history slides, it was a revelation to see their size too. Thanks

  Awe increases perceived time by Cristy West, NW Washington, DC, USA  

“Arcadian Melody”
mixed media, 30 x 30 inches
by Cristy West

Recent studies at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management suggests that the same experiences that make us notice the vastness of the universe also make us feel there’s more time in the day. Experiences of awe (“the feeling we get when we come across something so strikingly vast in number, scope, or complexity that it alters the way we understand the world”) may help get rid of feelings of being time-starved and impatient; we actually begin to feel there is more time in the day. And it might make us feel more generous.   There are 2 comments for Awe increases perceived time by Cristy West
From: Ron Ruble — Jan 22, 2013

Excellent painting! Great job. Would love to see it a little larger, 5 x 5, 6 x 6.

From: Susan Kellogg, Austin, TX — Jan 22, 2013

Business schools, eh? Why do I worry about what they will do with that insight! I like your painting a lot.

  A gift of life by Natal Natal, Montevideo, Uruguay  

“Window light”
oil painting
by Natal Natal

When I was at an art university more than 10 years ago, I attended a conference about reactions to works of art, especially crying. I thought it was really interesting, but I never had experienced that until some years later in front of paintings of Spanish painter Carmen Laffon, and that happened to me again in last September when I saw for the first time, paintings of the Impressionists in Brazil, a neighbor country of mine, because where I live is very difficult to have expositions of this magnitude. So I think the emotions are deployed in such way due to how we join in our interior world of perception: the myth, the heart & mind, the profession, the beauty and the tangible reality of the images created. Is an overwhelming experience, perhaps because we are aware of a painting’s existence but is not so easy to reach them and contemplate them, and when it happens it feels like a big achievement and a gift of life (and a gift of the artist to life, too).    

Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for The Stendhal Syndrome

From: Joseph Jahn — Jan 18, 2013

Only ever happened once in my life as a painter. Walking through an exhibition at UC Berkeley many, many years ago I saw a Van Gogh self portrait from across the room and was literally overwhelmed. A combination of the painting itself and actually being in the presence of a masterpiece. I’ve never exerienced that feeling again, but then I’ve never seen a Lucian Freud in person yet.

From: Chris Everest — Jan 18, 2013

I was young, I was confident, I loved Art but didn’t know it. I have a memory of being in the Pantheon in Rome, doing the teenaged “boring” cultural week of a two week holiday (ie Not the beach week) and there didn’t seem to be much there. Yeah, a hole in the roof ! cool for barbecues but…. …Then I saw a tomb/memorial alongside one wall and it said Raphael…. and I spaced out. He really lived. Not just in a book with pictures. I remember thinking when I came back to earth that he really deserved more than was there. It was a mixture of hero-worship, epiphany and growing-up….all at the same time. Later found Keats’ heart. Life was starting. Chris (aged 17… now 54)

From: Susan — Jan 18, 2013

Upon, gazing at the masters paintings in the museum the tears will start to fall and I am overwhelmed with a sense of awe! Its best that I gaze alone, as seems know one understands.

From: Patty Cucman — Jan 18, 2013

Recently, Painting Canada brought tears to my eyes; standing in the gallery between Jack Pine and West Wind, an entire gallery of JEH MacDonald paintings of Lake O’Hara – almost a dozen, sketches of Algonquin and Algoma. Awestruck was I.

From: fostrart — Jan 18, 2013

I was shocked to read of the Stendhal effect in this letter, as it apparently happened to me at the Uffitzi in Florence. As I came out of each room viewing this great art, I had to sit on a bench to recover, feeling dizzy and exhausted, at one point thinking I might pass out. I thought it was due to my three weeks of backpacking Europe, not the overwhelming effects of great art.

From: ReneW — Jan 18, 2013

I was overwhelmed upon seeing Thomas Moran’s painting of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone at the Smithsonian in D.C. It was an amazing work of art. His paintings were instrumental in setting aside parts of America as National Parks.

From: Martin — Jan 18, 2013

Everything goes better with Light.

From: Ted Tymoshenko — Jan 18, 2013

“Recognition” has a lot to do with this condition. We are all, to a degree, impressed with ourselves when we recognize something. It’s particularly evident in music when the much-anticipated theme arrives. Audiences applause for this reason. I always remember the self-congratulatory feelings, sometimes to the point of tremors and tears, when I recognized something in the flesh that had only previously existed in the media.

From: Nelson Sayers — Jan 18, 2013

I saw a man collapse in the MOMA. He was attended by his daughter and then a doctor until the paramedics arrived, but it was too late. His daughter said he had a weak heart.

From: Susan Kellogg, Austin, TX — Jan 18, 2013

I am happy that you got rid of that pesky super ego and were able to experience beauty unfettered. Near the top of my list of triggers to the Stendahl Syndrome are, Botticelli’s Primavera and Michaelangelo’s David, an Andrea del Sarto Madonna and Child, Manet’s “Dead Toreador”, the Matisse paintings of a period around 1916-1918, Rembrandt’s Woman Bathing, a yellow and orange Rothko, and much of Harold Hodgkin’s work…but none compares to what I see today. My cataract surgery gives me a new lens in my left eye and I am able to compare what I see with my, as yet unrepaired, right eye! The whites are luminously pure, the tree trunks have beautiful rosy and blue tones, and the reds are pure crimsons! I compare them to what I see from my as yet unrepaired right eye, where everything is cast in a yellow ochre haze, dull somber tones of green gold, the whites are muddy and have no brilliance. This puts to the test the stories of Monet’s pallete going yellow and dark orange in his last years, (before they invented cataract surgery)! Today, I am in a full blown case of the Stendhal Syndrome! What good timing.

From: Dave C. — Jan 18, 2013

Okay, I think I know what the problem is. All of these museums that people are mentioning are world-class and they have thousands of years worth of art to choose from to hang on their walls. So obviously they are hanging only the very best that humankind has to offer. So it can be quite overwhelming to view a Rembrandt, then a Monet and then a Van Gogh, all in the same time and space. The answer? They need to hang some of my art in there, interspersed with all these masters, just to give people a break from all that greatness. Not to mention giving people a chance to laugh and say, “what the hell is that?” I am willing to help out with this problem in any way I can.

From: Paul Paquette — Jan 18, 2013

I was in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in December about 6 years ago. It was high mass in the late afternoon. Great beams of warm sunlight streamed through the west rose window and bathed the altar in an etherial multi-coloured light. Incense smoke wafted slowly upward through the light beams, upward into the dark recesses of the great vaulted ceiling. A lone priest stood before the altar. He wore a white alb that, bathed in the sun beams, glowed radiant against the dark shadows of the gothic interior. He sang the mass in french with a beautiful voice that resonated hauntingly throughout the enormous interior space. I am not a religious person, but standing there and being witness to that simple spectacle of light, incense and sound inside of that dramatic gothic church was as near to a religious experience as I have ever had. Paul Paquette.

From: Anonymous — Jan 19, 2013

I haven’t experienced the symptoms described; my reactions to extreme beauty in both art and nature are to either go into a trance (it it’s static) or run back and forth excitedly trying to take it all in, if it’s transient. It’s no wonder I have a bit of a reputation for being a tad daft! My best trance-like experiences have been visits to great cathedrals – both Notre Dame and the Duomo in Milan will stay with me forever. Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is on my bucket list. I’m also not religious. It’s the skill of man in creating these huge works of art that entrances me. But for running-back-and-forth excitement (probably including the racing heart, though I didn’t notice at the time!), hard to beat is a train journey up the Jungfraujoch in 1988. I didn’t sit down until we reached the tunnel – I bobbed from window to window, trying to see it all. There were the emerald green grass, the flowers, the sound of cowbells, the fir trees, the snow-covered mountains above and a gloriously blue sky, all as described in the Heidi books I’d devoured as a child. The idyllic picture of Switzerland I’d had in my head all those years turned out to be incredibly true in every detail. I’ve been back once since, in 2000, and it was just as wonderful.

From: Wendie Thompson — Jan 19, 2013

Oh yeah…Florence did that to me…I found myself in tears often at the sheer beauty of the place. After the trip I did not paint for about a year…my cup was too full!

From: Denyse M. — Jan 19, 2013

Most recent episode of that experience took place at the Beaverbrook Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada when I stood 2 feet away from a Claude Monet painting. Caught my breath, tears rolled down my cheeks and my heart pounded in my chest as I stood this distance away thinking of Monet himself standing the same distance to look while he was painting. Work like this does not come to New Brunswick often. As a person of little financial means these days, I do not get to travel to exotic places. I grew up partially just outside London, England where as a blase teenager I visited The National Portrait Gallery and other such noteable places. I remember once putting my hand on a sculpture which moved me to tears, and other classmates laughed at me.. Relieved to learn I’m not the only “crazy person” who experiences such a range of emotions from art.

From: Bobbo Goldberg — Jan 19, 2013

I’ve been a dinosaur lover all my life, truly since maybe age 4, and particularly dinosaur movies. Museums were wonderful, but bones were never enough. I wanted to see them moving around. For most of my life, stop motion was as good as it got, and while I always enjoyed it, there was a stylized aspect to it; you’d never confuse it with real life. Until “Jurassic Park,” that is. The first encounter with the brachiosaur was overwhelming. He looked completely real, alive, an animal rather than a special effect. But it was when they cut to the lake, and the herd of parasaurolophuses drinking, lifting their heads and looking around, that I was truly gobsmacked. One caught my eye, and when his head moved, tiny in the shot though he was, it moved with the weight and mass of a horse’s head. It bounded over my disbelief and, for that moment, convinced me I was seeing a living dino. I very nearly passed out. Thought I would. It was a case of being blown away by both the artistry of the moment, and (because he was so far away) the direct participation of my mind in creating the shot. I think it qualifies as a Stendhal moment, though the poor fellow will never make the inside of the Louvre.

From: Linda Archinal — Jan 19, 2013

Leave it to a psychiatrist to turn an aesthetic experience of lifetime delight into a mental illness. I personally don’t feel that labeling and quantifying my experiences has made me a better artist. Surely there is much more enjoyment and benefit to have freedom of expression and using those emotions experienced to further artistic goals.

From: Maralyn Taylor — Jan 19, 2013

I experienced a similar sensation when I saw Van Gogh’s sunflowers for the first time. Now I know that I’m not crazy, only overwhelmed.

From: Meryl Huxham — Jan 19, 2013

As I started reading this piece, I immediately thought of my feelings when I was at l’Orangerie this year. I kept telling my husband that I really could not understand how I was going to be able to leave. Eventually we left and I had to beg him to go back in and we viewed them all again. I will never ever forget my joy trying to come through my sick overwhelming awestruck body reaction to such beauty. Just had to write. It is so real. And then later I read that that was your moment as well. Aaah…

From: Gary McDonald — Jan 19, 2013

I had a similar experience to yours, but until now I never knew what to call it. Back in 1989 my wife and I were in Paris and naturally the first thing on the sightseeing list was a visit to the Louvre. My excitement was building before we even walked through the doors. The entire experience was overwhelming, but the gut-wrencher was when I found myself standing in front of the Mona Lisa. I was so overcome, I could not look at it for more than a few seconds at a time and was literally unable to speak for 2 hours afterwards. I still have the image of watching a group of Japanese tourists, laughing and talking and shooting flash pictures (which, in the days before the new glass enclosure, were strictly forbidden), completely oblivious to the power and meaning of the incredible beauty and history that had me viscerally incapacitated. The second, albeit less powerful incident occurred a couple of hours later as I stood and ran my fingers over the cold, exquisite form of the Venus De Milo. The coldness of the marble was almost shocking given the supple fluidity of the figure. I still get an emotional reaction that is almost physical every time I see a beautiful piece of art. Thank you for the insight of kindred spirits.

From: Tish Lowe — Jan 19, 2013

I lived for five years on Piazza S. Croce while I was studying art at Angel Academy of Art in Florence. I prayed that some of the earthly molecules of Michelangelo, Galileo, et al. still wafted around the piazza as I breathed deeply in hopes of capturing some minute speck of their genius. Alas, the molecules were too few….

From: Dorise Ford — Jan 19, 2013

The one and only time this happened to me I was a teenager living in San Francisco. On a visit to The Palace of the Legion of Honor I walked into a room that had a large piece by Renoir. I was transfixed, could not move and stood before it in awe. To this day I have never felt as I did that day about seeing a masters work, close but never that huge rush of being in a room with such beauty. It was long ago but a vivid memory.

From: Fawa Conradie — Jan 19, 2013

While in Italy last year, I looked up a Bernini sculpture, The Agony and Ecstasy of St Theresa in a small chapel in Rome. Standing in front of this dimly lit piece, I was almost disappointed. So what’s the big deal with “the exact moment when the angel of love’s arrow pierces the heart of St Theresa”? Somebody else inside the church came across and fed a coin into the slot that I had not seen. Suddenly, lights came on, flooding with light the most incredible piece of art I have ever laid my eyes on. The folds in the white marble; the golden rays shining down from above the scene, St Theresa’s half open mouth . . . sensual. I felt her intense pain and I felt her personal ecstasy. There was an arrow in my heart, I could not move. I stood frozen and mulled over the description, over and over, while trying to suck up every single exquisite detail of this piece. I don’t know how long I had stood like this, but a some point the lights went out and I came to my senses again. I left the chapel in a daze and could not relate to my family who were waiting at a gelatti shop near by for quite some time. I can only describe this as a deeply moving spiritual experience; much like an instant trance. For some moments I was shepherded to a higher level of being; a better place.

From: Diane Overmyer — Jan 19, 2013

Thank you!! Thank you!!! Thank YOU!!! For years I have realized that I get an ache in my chest often when I am able to really study amazing paintings. Nearly every time I visit the Chicago Art Institute, I come out with a pounding headache. But I had never realized until reading your letter, that this phenomena that you referred to, might just be what happened to me when I was age 21 and in Paris. It was the final day of a European trip that I had been on for over 3 weeks. Between the travel, work and sight seeing we had been doing, no one in our group had gotten their normal sleep. But we were young, so none of us cared. Then on the day that I was totally excited about; the day we finally got to see the Louvre, after only spending about half of our allotted time, I ended up feeling dizzy and downright sick to the point that I had to leave the museum. I know at least a few of my companions came with me so that has only added to my regret over having not spent every minute possible viewing those masterpieces that I or they may never get to see again! So for over 30 years I have been mentally kicking myself for leaving early, when maybe I was just responding in a visceral way to all that I had been taking in! I am going to tell myself that anyway, because it feels much more noble than simply being a wimp!

From: Jean Burman — Jan 19, 2013

A slug of Limoncello cured my episode after a terrifying 20 minute climb up into the roof of the Duomo di Firenze and down again. I’m claustrophobic you see… so you might understand my reticence. About half way up [inside the Duomo itself]runs a narrow caged-in shelf high above the cathedral floor which offers a birds eye view of the Last Judgment frescoes painted on the ceiling. Clinging tightly with my back to the wall I inched around the Duomo’s inside walls… quickly past those pitchfork prodding figures littering the lower levels… and tried to keep my eyes focussed skyward on the more heavenly bodies above. The shelf then led back into the narrow circular stairwell and continued to climb up into the roof. I was fine actually until the man ahead of me began contemplating aloud what might happen should someone decide to have a heart attack in that dark dingy space. But… we made it out alive… and the view from the top was spectacular! The experience was an eye opener for sure… but was it Stendahl syndrome? No I don’t think so. Just a frightful combination of vertigo claustrophobia and sheer and utter terror at the prospect of having to face those pitchfork prodding demons again on the way back down. In hindsight I think perhaps I might have needed something a tad stronger than Limoncello back on terra firma. A gelato maybe? Or three? Or a helicopter perhaps [in hindsight]to get me off the roof? LOL

From: Marie Gaffney — Jan 19, 2013

i myself am often struck with the Stendhal Syndrome even when just picking up a mere feather in my own home, as i have several parrots or looking at the patterning on one of my cats’ coats. God is the greatest artist of all, obviously, because he’s made each bird feather (no matter what kind of bird) show humans at least four colors on each one, and for the birds themselves, since they see two-dimensionally, far more colors that we can’t even imagine. Because of this, as i am also the babysitter of a friend who has two parrots, i was able to recognize the same syndrome specifically in one of her birds (a Senegal) over one of her personal paintings. It is a seascape in several different shades of blue, from the deepest cobalt blue levels to cerulean blue, windsor blues, indanthrene blues, and prussian blue with at least 3 levels of whites in it as well. i thought it was great since i love oil paintings but this male Senegal will spend hours just perching and gazing at it with adoration. Senegal’s are originally from Africa and this one was bred in the midwest, thus never having seen the ocean or any great body of water. He is mainly green in color with reds and a slight amount of blue. The other parrot companion in the same room as he is yellow with some orange. Her furnishings are red and gold. The only reason i can possibly imagine is that it has been done with enough different hues of color, that he loves it, not just that she is the one who painted it (since he loves her dearly). It’s made me realize that we should be painting not only for ourselves and other humans but our pets as well, ensuring even more colors and layers of color are put into each painting when we work/play with our art. It is not at all anthripimorphism to do so (since it is obvious animals can’t see as we do and haven’t seen as much in the world as we have) but a way to make our work better by realizing how many layers there are possible to each piece. This is surely the case with everything from oils, acrylics, and watercolor to the furniture and walls in our homes and studios.

From: Sonja Strausz — Jan 19, 2013

You only applied this effect to artists. What about just the collectors? I know of several who are sometimes overwhelmed by the art they are looking at and simply have to buy it….myself included!

From: William Marvin — Jan 19, 2013

I had been looking forward to seeing some of the great art that was featured at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, John Singer Sargent in particular. As I wandered in and out of the rooms I remember having this silly grin on my face I was so pleased with seeing some familiar pieces. Then I turned the corner into the gallery of Sargent paintings and I was completely overcome with emotion. I wept like a baby. The drawing, the subtlety of the shading, and the exquisite color just knocked me out. I couldn’t breathe as I stared at these masterpieces. I was embarrassed by my tears but I recognized that this was an exceptional experience and I just gave in to the feeling of wonder and gratitude. It’s a memory I treasure to this day.

From: Barb B. — Jan 19, 2013

Yes, I’ve experienced this feeling often. Now I have a correct name for it instead of “scenic overkill”.

From: Bill Skrips — Jan 19, 2013

Seeing Henri Matisse’s Jeanette heads unexepectedly brought me to tears when I saw them in Washington, D. C. (I believe at the Hirschhorn Museum). As a younger artist, I thought that they were the pants! Seeing them face to face was an overwhelming emotional thrill and I suppose I’d have to give credit to Henri for the fact that I’m still a working sculptor.

From: Mike Young — Jan 19, 2013
From: Tina Poucher — Jan 19, 2013

I saw my first Guiseppe Pino original while in Santa Fe, NM! Alas, he recently died and I felt a deep, personal loss! I have remarked to my husband that I had never felt such a deep intimacy with a person I had never met!

From: Susan Courtney — Jan 19, 2013

There is also a wonderful play called “The Stendal Syndrome” by Terrence McNally. Comprised of two one-acts, “Full Frontal Nudity” and “Prelude and Liebestod”, it deals with this overwhelming and intense physical reaction to art. The first specifically deals with American tourists reactions to Michelangelo’s David. I saw it years ago and was quite moved.

From: Jackie Knott — Jan 19, 2013

The California Condor had been reintroduced into the Grand Canyon the previous year. It was noted a nesting pair had taken up residence. We were at one scenic overlook and observed these magnificent birds soaring. Their cries could be heard clearly. I was spellbound as were the dozen or so people at the precipice. The silence of the place is absolute and I heard one young man behind me almost whisper in reverence, “Your tax dollars at work.” We were witnesses to the grand success of recovering these majestic birds from near extinction. Sometimes artwork moves me, sometimes not. The Mona Lisa is on everyone’s “to do” list in Paris and of course, I expected to appreciate it. I made my way from one hall and gallery to the next and saw a crowd of probably sixty tourists pointing and talking. It was obvious they were looking at the celebrated prize of the Louvre. This one great icon of art familiar to all was before me. I wasn’t prepared for how magnificent the painting was. I stared at it unable to move … most people looked for a few minutes and moved on. Some lingered. One man looked and shrugged. He said, “That’s it?” I truly pitied the man. I was on a sailboat anchored on the blue water side of Ship Island off Gulfport, MS during a lunar eclipse. It was late August, clear, calm wind, and no lights were visible … perfect star gazing weather. The moon was between red and peach and so distinct the craters could be seen. Pure awe.

From: Norman Ridenour — Jan 20, 2013

I had the Stendhal effect in the Phillips Collection. I get a version of it each new quarter when I walk into the classroom with a row of drop dead lovely Kazakh young ladies. At my age I should be past both instances but I am not. Prague.

From: Roy Brown — Jan 20, 2013

I recall my personal ‘Stendhal Syndrome’ moment viewing an Edward Hopper painting …titled “Sunday-1926” in a gallery one rainy afternoon. The illusion of sunny dry heat on the store front, lonely man sitting on the curb and sunlit dusty street was surreal and mind etching. Penticton, B.C.

From: Ken Flitton — Jan 20, 2013

I had the feeling when I heard Brian Barlow (music composer and drummer who contrives the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival for last 10 years) His version of “Take the A Train” with 18 pc band is to die for. I went to Deer Park Church in Toronto to a “Vespers” jazz concert and got there too early. The band was running thru “Take” to get used to their parts and warm up. Half hour later the concert began and they did “Take” again for real. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!!!! Had close experiences like that over art but never quite as strong. Saw Picasso’s “Girl Reflected in a Mirror” in Life magazine when I was 10 and it had almost the same effect. Thanks for the memories.

From: Lee Mackenzie — Jan 20, 2013

On vacation in Hawaii in the early 1990’s I went into a gallery that was filled with beautiful images in strong, clear colours. I remember feeling I was drinking it it, and felt a bit dizzy, not quite myself. That night, when I was going to sleep, every time I closed my eyes I “saw” things – a field of blue flowers, a single chair near a window, a ceramic vase, a tree with leaves of deep blue. It was like a slide show. Each time, I’d open my eyes, close them again, to see another image. I was so concerned I told the person I was with because I thought something was wrong or at least weird. I wasn’t frightened, though. I was just swamped with the feeling that I wanted to try to paint. And here I am today. I have often told the story of when I got the urge to try to create art of my own, I just never had an explanation for that strange and wonderful day.

From: Susan Burgess — Jan 20, 2013

Once again, an eye-opener from you! I’ve had that experience several times, the most severe occurring also in the Monet exhibit of water lily paintings (MFA, Boston). Luckily, the center of the room was lined with soft benches, and I wondered even then if buckled knees, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations were common reactions.

From: Lorna Dockstader — Jan 20, 2013

The beauty of nature has the power of luring us into potentially dangerous situations. While sitting nearby a hardwood forest ablaze with fall colours, a voice from within called and told me to disappear within its beauty forever. “You won’t be missed, and you can enjoy this spectacular place forever.” Mesmerized, I placed my hand on the door handle of the car , ready to leave. Fortunately, our son had come back to see what was taking me so long, and asked if I was alright. Since then, I have often wondered about others who have gone missing while on hikes, gazing at rushing waters near waterfalls, or even a certain canoeist who was found with rope tied around his ankles and drowned in an indigo white-capped lake.

From: Devon Brennan — Jan 21, 2013

It happens to me with art but also when I play the piano…sometimes just a few notes from Phantom of the Opera make me want to cry they are so beautiful. I sit and just play the notes so slowly as to really hear their beauty. But, I am a sucker for nature also – a shell, a pinecone, wood, branch from a tree with acorns still attached. I have to be careful not to bring too much ‘of this beauty’ into the house! I am going to print this ‘beautiful group of words’ and put on wall in my studio: Life is a passage through a museum of beauty.

From: Adele McDonnell — Jan 21, 2013

I am a victim of Stendahl syndrome. It happened when I decided to use up an old tube of Prussian Blue oil paint that has been hiding for 30 years or so. Maybe I have never used it before, whatever, when I was spreading it over my huge canvas and saw it’s iridescence, I was amazed. It was so unexpected. I was ecstatic!. I wanted to run out and find someone to share it with. I was doing a night pine tree, lake, scene, etc. Then I added a touch of Naples yellow to form a moon and saw that it’s halo was also iridescent, I was in heaven. A little bit of yellow also made some nice dark iridescent greens. I couldn’t wait to talk to other artists and see if they had discovered this fabulous phenomenon. I could not find anyone that had used it. That did not get me down–I want to experience that fun again!

From: Barb Mintz — Jan 21, 2013

We were in Chinatown, NYC. I found myself at the confluence of simultaneous events that produced such an otherworldly feeling that I could hardly move. It had been a warm day, and at the beginning of evening, the air had that silky softness that sort of cradles you. A few blocks ahead of us, there was an open, two story structure and lots of quiet activity. As we approached we could hear the strains of the Chinese Opera, to my ear, more unusual then lyric. We discovered we had come across a small park and the two-story building was actually an open pavilion. The second floor was like a theatrical stage, overlooking the park. There were people in that pavilion who, because of the time of day, were totally in silhouette, practicing some sort of marshal art. Two at a time they would move toward each other in slow motion, arms rising as if to strike, and then falling with fingers arched and hands meeting and curling away. As the music sing songed on, and these silhouettes kept up their ballet, I found my fingers wanting to copy the butterfly movements of those hands. I could not move, I was enchanted, and wanted to stand just as I was forever. My husband, however, wanted to move on, and I was pulled away before I was ready to go. I could barely walk, and had to hold my husbands arm to keep from falling. I’m glad I can finally put a name to what happened to me that day.

From: Linda Kukulski — Jan 21, 2013

After reading your letter today I am pleased to be adding The Stendhal Syndrome to my list of personal syndromes. Like you, I thought that this reaction I had to so many beautiful things in the world was due to my sensitivities/sensitiveness until a discussion with my husband. A vintage car aficionado, he revealed that ‘Car’ guys feel the exact same way when they were anywhere near the car of their dreams or the car of their glory days. He did not use same eloquence and sophistication as in your definition, but I concluded the feeling is the same. More often these days I feel the Stendhal Syndrome whenever I am with my first and only grandson, born eighteen months ago. I have stared at him for great lengths of time with pure awe and love washing all over me!

From: Lea Goldman — Jan 21, 2013
From: Dana — Jan 21, 2013

I think there must also be a syndrome akin to “withdrawal.” That is, when it has been too long since one has seen anything beautiful. There were times in North Central Texas when it was just weeds, dust and more weeds, when I might have killed for one nice art print.

From: Jill Brooks — Jan 21, 2013

I had the pleasure of this experience recently while watching the film version of Life of Pi. The cinematography is literally out of this world. The aerial views of the tiny boat, the exuberant flying fish, the imaginative underwater aquatic life were all breathtaking. Thank you Ang Lee for your artistry. Euphoria it seems can be computer generated much like flight simulation, or might it be a touch of sea-sickness? Either way I’m in favor.

From: Barbara — Jan 21, 2013

Oh my goodness Herb. Never ever destroy such beauty as you have created here. Your gift is a blessing to be admire whether here in this lifetime or the next. Best to you always Namaste

From: Chris B — Jan 22, 2013

I can think of two vivid instances; one on holiday in Scotland years ago with my exciteable small children who were desperate to get to grips with the Adventure Playground at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfriesshire. In the house (house first, playground after – possibly it should have been the other way round)they scooted from room to room. I was following, went through a door by a staircase and found myself face to face with Rembrandt’s Old Woman Reading. Rembrandt! Heart pounded, eyes filled; I could have gazed all day. My husband came back to see where I’d got to, and found me transfixed! Last year on a trip to Barcelona, I rather reluctantly stepped through the doors of the Sagrada Familia – extraordinary enough on the outside – and burst into tears; again, heart pounding and breath draining. An astonishing, soaring stone forest, filled with light. I had to pretend I had something in my eye, as the crowds coming in jostled behind me.

From: Podi Lawrence — Jan 22, 2013

Robert, As often happens, I find, your letter has timely relevance in my life. At the age of 71 and the loss of my husband and many life changes, I need to re-organise my Will and what to do with my vast “artist’s” collection after….Your advice really helped. I just have to find the right people. But in the meantime, the 3rd bedroom (unnecessary to normal life) storage will be sorted. Once again I am so glad to receive your letters.

From: Nancy O’Toole — Jan 22, 2013

I have had a few extremely touching & euphoric experiences and. two of them were on the same trip to in 1978 to Amsterdam, Madrid & Paris. I didn’t know how overwhelming a painting could be till I saw El Greco’s painting of St Peter in Toledo Spain…It was a day I will never forget!. I was unabashedly crying and taken aback as I had not been a particular fan of El Greco’s somehow touched my heart like nothing had ever done before! The 2nd time was after leaving the Jeu de pomme in Paris after having spent several hours looking at my favorite impressionist paintings! It was a beautiful sunny day and May 1st in Paris and as I walked out into the gardens I suddenly realized I was looking at the same scenes I had just seen in the paintings…sunlight dappling through the trees, people walking together through the gardens or sitting reading..even the chairs were the same! …the whole impressionistic scene was on display in front of me…the only difference was the costume! What joy happiness and wonder! I felt I was there seeing through the eyes of those same artists whose work I loved. Such a wonderful feeling of euphoria!

From: Sally Chupick — Jan 22, 2013
From: Karen R. Phinney — Jan 22, 2013

I am just going to add to the many anecdotes here about being overwhelmed in museums. I have been in Florence, in Paris, and so forth… teary eyed at seeing a painting or paintings that I had only ever seen in books. I guess one of the most powerful experiences was in Rockport, Maine, when I went to the museum there and looked at the Andrew Wyeths. I had loved his work since I was a teen seeing an article about him in Time Magazine, the new realism, etc. I don’t paint like that, and couldn’t but I loved his work. My mother ordered me a set of prints of his work and I still have them. I stood in this gallery and felt my mother there with me as I looked at the wonderful paintings, many of which I was already familiar with…… my eyes welled up, too. An unforgettable experience. I followed it up with going to the Olsen house and walking through it with Andrew’s brother in law who gave a few of us visitors a tour. It was back in the late nineties, but it is still vivid.

From: Jacqueline — Jan 22, 2013

Concerning the Stendhal Syndrome–golly, that’s what that was when the Monet exhibition was presented at the North Carolina Museum of Art a few years ago. I kept bursting into tears, too, and felt quite silly. Bless my sister’s heart, she showed much better self control, but she was also in the grip of the syndrome! Thank you for explaining what it is!

From: Jim Carpenter — Jan 22, 2013

I met a woman who said she absolutely avoids art museums. When I asked her why she said, “I’m too sensitive. All that beauty on all those walls. It’s like the paintings are screaming at me.” I guess that’s the Stendahl syndrome to the tenth power! It was only after I had my own Stendahl experience in front of a van Gogh that her words seemed plausible to me.

From: Betty SmithSenger — Jan 22, 2013

My Stendhal moment was the first time I viewed a mountain range from a distance. I was 14 years old. (Having grown up in Florida, I had only seen them in photos and books.) My jaw dropped and my knees collapsed. It was as if I had stepped into “beauty”, itself with my immediate surroundings lost from view. I was in a state of fixation that took my senses awhile to recover.

From: John Webster — Jan 22, 2013

Yesterday, I painted a portrait for some friends of their beautiful 4-year old son. ‘Alexandre’ is a joyous little boy of Congolese/Spanish blood with ridiculously expressive eyes and a beaming smile. It was no chore to get a nice photo and pull together the painting. What puzzles me was the fact that I couldn’t stop crying while drawing his face! Of course, portrait work forces you to pore over every line and nuance in order to put the paint down, but I just found myself overwhelmed by the combination of innocence and fragile beauty of this precocious little boy. But, being brought to tears? Not sure if it was the thought of what he faces in a future with so many questions and global issues. But, when you wrote of this syndrome, it certainly struck a chord!

From: Linda Eichorst — Jan 22, 2013

Robert, Thank you. I, too, have had this experience. The first time was in the Sistine Chapel. I started to tremble and tears rolled down my face. I was shocked at the colors, esp. the orange. I didn’t want to leave. Finally, the tour guide told me it was time to go. I have no idea how long I stood in that one place experiencing that amazing ceiling. The only other time I have been affected that way is in the Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City. There were five murals in one of the special event rooms painted by Wilson Hurley. Their placement on the huge walls and the exacting placement of his horizons just blew my mind. I immediately regretted that I had never made the extra effort to meet him as he lived so close to where I do. I felt as if I were in those paintings and they were the most wonderful places I had ever been. It’s good to know I’m not the only person (artist) who experiences beauty like this.

From: Sherry Chanin ASA, CSPWC — Jan 22, 2013

The phenomenon of being overwhelmed by beauty occurred when I was 18 years old at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary where they had a show of paintings dealing with reflections on water by Joseph Raffael. They were huge murals of oscillating colours and I was so mesmerized I felt dizzy and had to sit down. My heart was pounding and I was short of breath. I went back to that show eight more times before it moved on and even made a special art pilgrimage to the Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York to see more of his work. He continues to be a prime influence in my own work of what I want to accomplish.

From: Christine Ritchie — Jan 23, 2013

I rounded the corner in the Thompson Gallery, Toronto a few years ago to find myself face to face with one of Emily Carr’s as large as life forest paintings. Breathless I fell to my knees in awe. Once I returned to my body I was shocked to find that I was still standing. Must have been my energy (kinesthetic) body that had given homage. Wee humans are something, what!?

From: Tatjana M-P — Jan 23, 2013

Self-congratulation and recognition causing this state doesn’t sound convincing to me. When I was only seven, my parents took me to Prague. Somehow the only art museum we found accessible that day was dedicated to paintings with images of the crucifixion. I have never had any religious or art related education prior to that. I felt such awe that I got physically sick. The same happened to my mother. The pressure of the sheer weight of art being created through centuries is what I recall. Also something like a duty and desire to absorb all that and make a space for it in my heart.

From: Nancy Butler — Jan 23, 2013

I first experienced the Stendhal syndrome while in the Louvre, standing and looking at the painting of St. John the Baptist, which was adjacent to the Mona Lisa. I thought I might pass out. I have also experienced similar feelings while in university and having certain poetry read aloud. I recall having to grasp the arms of my desk to stop the dizzy feeling. I believe it was Blake that was being read.

From: Brian Bastedo — Jan 25, 2013

10 years ago I visited a sister who was then living in Toronto. She played tour-guide during my visit, and we got to spend a few hours in Kleinberg, about 40 minutes from Toronto, seeing the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Standing 10 feet away from these original paintings by my art heroes (Tom Thomson, Harris, Carmichael, A.Y. Jackson, Lismer, and all the rest just about put my ticker into overdrive…I forgot to breathe! At the time, Eaton’s Centre also was showing several dozen more paintings by the Group of Seven borrowed from private collections; still goes down as the best experience of my life as an artist!

From: Margaret Bobb — Jan 25, 2013
From: Janet Lay — Feb 14, 2013

I took my first trip to France last May. I have always loved Monet and too saw his water lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. Monet is such a brilliant artist because he painted up close, stroke by stroke, what is to be enjoyed from a distance. It amazes me how he did that. When I looked at his work up close, I was disappointed. It was quite ordinary. His colors weren’t pretty. He had a lot of brush strokes I would have considered a mistake. However, when I stepped back and turned, the Stendahl Condition set in. I’ve never been a Van Gogh fan just seeing his work in print. However, I had the pleasure in Paris of seeing his last works. All of his works were amazing! Starry Night. I can’t explain it. Stendahl Condition set in. I wanted to cry. France is such a beautiful place to paint. The ochre hills at Roussillon are only equaled by the architecture in Paris. San Angelo, Texas

From: Janet Lay — Feb 16, 2013

I took my first trip to France last May. I have always loved Monet and too saw his water lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. Monet is such a brilliant artist because he painted up close, stroke by stroke, what is to be enjoyed from a distance. It amazes me how he did that. When I looked at his work up close, I was disappointed. It was quite ordinary. His colors weren’t pretty. He had a lot of brush strokes I would have considered a mistake. However, when I stepped back and turned, the Stendahl Condition set in. I’ve never been a Van Gogh fan just seeing his work in print. However, I had the pleasure in Paris of seeing his last works. All of his works were amazing! Starry Night. I can’t explain it. Stendahl Condition set in. I wanted to cry. France is such a beautiful place to paint. The ochre hills at Roussillon are only equaled by the architecture in Paris.

     Featured Workshop: Shirley Peters
012113_robert-genn Shirley Peters workshops Held in Sydney, Australia   The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order. 

Miss Lucie

oil painting, 30 x 24 inches by Bill Barnes, Monroe, GA, USA

  You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013. That includes Stella Reinwald of Santa Fe, NM, USA, who wrote, “I wonder if there is a name for the feeling of disorientation, incredulity, and nausea that comes over me when I encounter the likes of a Jeff Coons sculpture or a Damien Hirst installation. It’s the feeling of being the butt of a really bad joke. Or maybe worse, it’s as if some people are sharing a good laugh when something horrible has happened and you just can’t bring yourself to join in and convince yourself that anything about it is funny. The suspicion that perhaps I have been transported to an alternate, inverse universe, where amateur is pro, banal is sophisticated and trite/stupid is brilliant.” And also Jim Oberst of Hot Springs Villa, AR, USA, who wrote, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone had the Stendhal Syndrome upon viewing one of my works!”    

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