Hyperarmitagemania? RA & the Stendhal Syndrome


Stendhal Syndrome, also known as Florence Syndrome, Hyperkulteremia:  a pyschosomatic disorder that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations, when a person is exposed to art, particularly when the artwork is beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single space. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choices in other circumstances, such as when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.


Fainting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The condition is named for French writer Henri-Marie Beyle, better known by his pen name Stendhal, who described his experience with the phenomenon during his 1817 visit to Florence in the book “Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.”

Since the early 19th century, there have been many descriptions of people becoming dizzy or faint while taking in Florentine art, especially at the Uffizi. But the term “Stendhal Syndrome” was not termed until 1979, when it was described by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini, who observed and described more than 100 similar cases among tourists and visitors in Florence. (information provided by Wikipedia)

If Mr. Armitage, with all his physical beauty, grace and natural elegance can be perceived as a work of art in his own right, my question is this: can being exposed to large amounts of such a gorgeous creature as Richard Armitage tend to evoke a similar response in those who admire him? Not that I’ve actually fainted or had any hallucinations–but I have felt discombobulated (confused) and more than a little dizzy at times.  Especially in recent months, when we’ve been bombarded with so much Armitage beauty in video interviews, in new photo shoots, red carpet events, et al. Overwhelmed by it all at times, but in a good way.

Which brings to mind that old pop song–with a slight change of wording.

“I’m so dizzy my head is spinning, like a whirlpool it never ends,

and it’s you, RICH, making it spin, you’re making me dizzy . . .”

“Dizzy” by Tommy Roe




10 responses »

  1. I haven’t experienced hallucinations, fainting, or confusion in response to either Richard or works of art, but maybe I would if I were wearing a corset? Yet my pulse is definitely faster and I experience a heightened sense of awareness. I have always said I get “drunk” on art, and Richard is certainly intoxicating. Dizzy? Perhaps feeling stunned, a sense of time dilating, enchanted, enthralled, but I would not say dizzy, not like vertigo. Hmm.

    • No, thank goodness, not like vertigo. THAT I don’t ever want to experience again. But I do have this strange sensation of my head being overfilled with so much beauty and deliciousness courtesy of Mr. A. Discombobulated. And yeah, stunned, heart racing, and high on it all. Perhaps we should simply call it–The Armitage Effect?? 😉

  2. Sometimes even sensible people surprise me, I took my photos of the premiere in London into work to show our accountant (I knew she liked RA and AT) and she surprised me by saying ‘did I touch him? I was shocked by her attitude I deflected it by saying I was that close but would never dream to be that rude! I know some fans have had close encounters but they have always waited for the handshake or hug to come from RA.

    • Sometimes when people are in large groups and exciting events like that are happening, I think a little bit of mob mentality can slip in and they get “grabby”and behave in ways they (hopefully) would not in a normal situation. I don’t think the vast majority of RA fans would ever do so. Some celebs have had their clothing half-ripped off, the fans get in such a tizzy, but I can only think Richard’s admirers would be respectful and wait for him to make the first move. I think it’s terrible when people forget the celebrity is still a fellow human being and deserves to be treated thus.

      • I have a better opinion of AAAs generally than I do of some groups of fans. In this sense, I have a problem with “objectifying” another human being, turning a person into a piece of public property without the right to privacy or the right to be secure in one’s person. I, and others, may have vivid imaginations and even write NC17 fanfic, but I like to think that we would always treat Richard with the utmost respect and courtesy. We take pride in ourselves and in him as human beings.

        • Exactly. I think it goes back to treating others the way you yourself would want to be treated, and all signs point to the fact this is how Richard himself lives his life. Common courtesy and a degree of decorum are in order.

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