Living Well: A beautiful syndrome to have |  Lifestyle

Oh, the power of art in our capricious human hearts. And by art I mean music, theater, dance and poetry that gives us chills. The magnificent food, movie, novel or couture hanging from a model during Fashion Week that feels like a muse whispering words of sweet inspiration directly into the artist’s ears. I have been moved to tears solely by the power of a performance. It was New Year’s Eve about a decade ago, during a Colorado Springs Philharmonic concert with a few vocalists, including Jennifer DeDominici, who took me by surprise with her exhilarating delivery of a Puccini song from an opera I don’t remember. The sheer emotion pouring from her vocal cords took my breath away. Tears fell. It hasn’t happened to me before or since while watching live opera, although I keep trying. I long to be moved that way again. The sounds of jazz trumpeter Chris Botti floored me years ago within the dark confines of the Pikes Peak Center. He was standing on that stage, with his shiny instrument held high and his blonde locks shining. Like a snake charmer removing his reptile from his basket, the sweet sounds of the trumpet evoked tears from my dry passages.

Live Well: Valentine’s Day reminds us of the joy of being in love

More recently, I wandered the halls of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College and peered into a dark room where a video installation by Abdi Osman was projected on a large screen. The foreign voiceover combined with images of Venice filmed from a boat, drew me in and I sat captivated. And what are the feelings that seeing something you don’t understand, like modern dance, awakens in you? I can’t claim to know what the pieces at a recent DanceAspen performance at Ent Center for the Arts meant, but according to the dancers I’ve interviewed over the years, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how it makes you feel. And maybe that just makes you feel. We can be so isolated from our emotions. Life can kill us. But art can give us life back. Awaken feelings, even if you can’t always identify them. I’m not alone with my leaky eyes. A 2015 study found that crying is a typical biological response to what can happen when you encounter something your brain finds aesthetically pleasing. While art can create emotional turmoil in my body, I have yet to experience panic attack-like symptoms when I see a fascinating painting or cathedral. But apparently there are those among us who have done it, who report increased heart rate, chest pains, dizziness, fainting, hallucinations and even loss of consciousness in front of a work of art.

Living Well: A year of lessons learned and relearned

This beauty-induced panic attack is known as Stendhal syndrome. No, not Stockholm syndrome, a different theory about why hostages sometimes develop psychological bonds with their captors. Although maybe we could combine the two and feel a strange bond with a particular work of art? Stendhal syndrome is the intense physical and mental symptoms one may experience when viewing great works of art. The term, first coined in 1989 by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini, comes from the name of the 19th-century French writer Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by her pseudonym, Stendhal. In 1817, Beyle described having a high-intensity artistic interaction during a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. However, author Julian Barnes disputed this story in his 2008 memoir, “Nothing to Be Frightened Of,” after reviewing Beyle’s diary entries and discovering that the man never mentioned an art-related episode; His feet hurt and he wanted to leave Florence and take the train to Rome. Despite the syndrome’s incomplete onset, it also became known as Florentine syndrome after Magherini treated more than 100 people in a Florence hospital after they visited the city’s art galleries and museums.

Living Well: Little Tales of Random Kindness

Which brings me to my point. If I have one. Although sometimes I like to just tell you things that catch my eye while I’m searching online, mostly looking for celebrity gossip, which, for the record, doesn’t make me cry over its beauty. My intention is to encourage us all to seek out art in the hope that it will make us cry or give us a case of Stendhal syndrome, although of course I wouldn’t wish a panic attack on anyone. Those are no joke. But finding art that makes us feel is a gift. Even if you don’t move to sob or don’t like it or don’t understand something, it doesn’t matter. Because that experience now lives inside you forever and makes you a more complete human being. And if you feel dizzy after seeing Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City or listening to Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera, at least you’ll know. It could be more than indigestion. Contact the writer: 636-0270

Oh, the power of art in our capricious human hearts.

And by art I mean music, theater, dance and poetry that gives us chills. The magnificent food, movie, novel or couture hanging from a model during Fashion Week that feels like a muse whispering words of sweet inspiration directly into the artist’s ears.

I have been moved to tears solely by the power of a performance. It was New Year’s Eve about a decade ago, during a Colorado Springs Philharmonic concert with a few vocalists, including Jennifer DeDominici, who took me by surprise with her exhilarating delivery of a Puccini song from an opera I don’t remember. The sheer emotion pouring from her vocal cords took my breath away. Tears fell. It hasn’t happened to me before or since while watching live opera, although I keep trying. I long to be moved that way again.

The sounds of jazz trumpeter Chris Botti floored me years ago within the dark confines of the Pikes Peak Center. He was standing on that stage, with his shiny instrument held high and his blonde locks shining. Like a snake charmer removing his reptile from his basket, the sweet sounds of the trumpet evoked tears from my dry passages.

Live Well: Valentine’s Day reminds us of the joy of being in love

More recently, I wandered the halls of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College and peered into a dark room where a video installation by Abdi Osman was projected on a large screen. The foreign voiceover combined with images of Venice filmed from a boat, drew me in and I sat captivated.

And what are the feelings that seeing something you don’t understand, like modern dance, awakens in you? I can’t claim to know what the pieces at a recent DanceAspen performance at Ent Center for the Arts meant, but according to the dancers I’ve interviewed over the years, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how it makes you feel. And maybe that just makes you feel. We can be so isolated from our emotions. Life can kill us. But art can give us life back. Awaken feelings, even if you can’t always identify them.

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I’m not alone with my leaky eyes. A 2015 study found that crying is a typical biological response to what can happen when you encounter something your brain finds aesthetically pleasing.

While art can create emotional turmoil in my body, I have yet to experience panic attack-like symptoms when I see a fascinating painting or cathedral. But apparently there are those among us who have done it, who report increased heart rate, chest pains, dizziness, fainting, hallucinations and even loss of consciousness in front of a work of art.

Living Well: A year of lessons learned and relearned

This beauty-induced panic attack is known as Stendhal syndrome. No, not Stockholm syndrome, a different theory about why hostages sometimes develop psychological bonds with their captors. Although maybe we could combine the two and feel a strange bond with a particular work of art?

Stendhal syndrome is the intense physical and mental symptoms one may experience when viewing great works of art. The term, first coined in 1989 by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini, comes from the name of the 19th-century French writer Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by her pseudonym, Stendhal.

In 1817, Beyle described having a high-intensity artistic interaction during a visit to the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence, Italy. However, author Julian Barnes disputed this story in his 2008 memoir, “Nothing to Be Frightened Of,” after reviewing Beyle’s diary entries and discovering that the man never mentioned an art-related episode; His feet hurt and he wanted to leave Florence and take the train to Rome.

Despite the syndrome’s incomplete onset, it also became known as Florentine syndrome after Magherini treated more than 100 people in a Florence hospital after they visited the city’s art galleries and museums.

Living Well: Little Tales of Random Kindness

Which brings me to my point. If I have one. Although sometimes I like to just tell you things that catch my eye while I’m searching online, mostly looking for celebrity gossip, which, for the record, doesn’t make me cry over its beauty.

My intention is to encourage us all to seek out art in the hope that it will make us cry or give us a case of Stendhal syndrome, although of course I wouldn’t wish a panic attack on anyone. Those are no joke. But finding art that makes us feel is a gift.

Even if you don’t move to sob or don’t like it or don’t understand something, it doesn’t matter. Because that experience now lives inside you forever and makes you a more complete human being.

And if you feel dizzy after seeing Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City or listening to Giuseppe Verdi’s “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera, at least you’ll know. It could be more than indigestion.

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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