Have you ever had an extreme reaction to viewing a stunning piece of Artwork? Have you ever been stopped in your tracks, experienced heart palpitations and extreme excitement when you walk into a gallery? If so, you may have experienced symptoms of Stendhal Syndrome. Stendhal Syndrome is defined as experiencing a physical reaction when viewing art. Some variations include crying, confusion, disorientation, fainting or hallucinations. One of the ArtFire staff, Lisa Jo Roden, is familiar with the syndrome. “I have experienced symptoms of Stendhal Syndrome twice in my life and I feel lucky to have the capacity for such a reaction,” she said. “Both times I was viewing photography that was extremely breathtaking, one work was by Amy Stein and one work by Frances Murray Jones. I got very excited and emotional and burst into tears while laughing (from embarrassment!) I felt pretty silly, but then realized that I was emotional because the art had moved me in such a way that I felt compelled to physically react and that is pretty powerful.” Lisa stated. The history of this syndrome dates back to 1817 when French author, Stendhal, described his experience of visiting Florence in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio. “On leaving the Santa Croce church, I felt a pulsating in my heart. Life was draining out of me, while I walked fearing a fall.” Stendhal recounted, thus the first recorded incident in history. Florentine psychiatrist, Dr. Graziella Magherina, treated many patients with these symptoms and eventually named the phenomenon “Stendhal’s Syndrome” and wrote a book on the subject titled La Sindrome di Stendhal, where she looks at over a hundred case studies. The syndrome became so wide-spread that there was even a horror movie made about it, titled The Stendhal Syndrome. There is also a band from Barcelona, Spain that has used the name The Stendhal Syndrome. So next time you are viewing a piece of art and you start to get a little weak in the knees, you know that you have been affected by this rare and interesting phenomenon.