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Stendhal Syndrome

Quoting Stendhal himself:

I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty… I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations… Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves.’ Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.

I was walking by an art gallery once and they had one of five 1:1 bronzes made of La Pieta, seen in the photo. There was a bench across from it where I sat for a while and regarded the bronze, drinking some coffee, when I had the most amazing reverie where I was laying there, prone as Jesus is, and I looked up and saw this woman’s face. Her facial features were unclear. I felt her soft hand on my knee, her billowing robes pooled around my body and her lap as soft as eiderdown. I could see a splendid array of golden lights around her head and felt the most tender affection I had yet felt.

Perhaps this makes me something of a spiritual brother to Pygmalion. The statuary in any art museum is always my favorite part. I can project whatever desirable traits I want upon that serene face and gentle body.

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