Oct 29, 2001

Art attack.

World museum directors oppose privatisation of Italy’s museums....ROME. The right wing government of Silvio Berlusconi is tabling an amendment in its next Finance Bill, to be debated in November, that would allow Italy's State museums, which include such world class institutions as the Uffizi in Florence, to be offered for privatisation on contracts of a minimum of five-years.

And if this is not enough, we have Vittorio Sgarbi doing his erosion gig, too....Vittorio Sgarbi, Italy’s headline-grabbing Under Secretary of State, has caused another rumpus by criticising Yannis Kounellis and other “over-rated” contemporary artists. He is alleged to have described their work as “escrementizia” (excrementitious), banal and an excuse for art.

But some Italians still enjoy going to musuems and visitors in Italy list the works most likely to inspire an "erotic adventure"...
I n Italy, the magnetism of museums is irresistible. Last June the Roman Institute of Psychology released the results of a national study involving 2,000 visitors that found 20 percent of them had embarked on an "erotic adventure" in a museum. Also according to the study, a Caravaggio painting or a Greek sculpture is more likely to lead to sex than works by Tiepolo or Veronese. The experts have even compiled a hit parade of Italian museums, listing the institutions in order of their ability to awaken Eros. This state of emotional arousal has been called the Rubens Syndrome, a term derived from the sensuous, superannuated nudes painted by the Flemish Old Master.

First the Stendhal Syndrome and now the Rubens one.

Sensory overload.
Years ago, the term Stendhal Syndrome was given to those female tourists who phychologically flipped out while visiting the Uffizi in Florence. It was on this that Dario Argentento based his film of the same name. The condition, documented since 1982 by the hospital's psychiatric team, was dubbed the Stendhal syndrome after the French writer who recorded a similar emotional experience on his first visit to the Tuscan city in 1817. Similarly, modern tourists can also have excessive reactions to a work of art. Their desire to ascend to a more spiritual state in the wake of this disappointment eventually leads to unusual and bizarre behaviour.

The Stendhal Syndrome (1999) ...Synopsis:
An undercover policewoman, Anna Manni, visits Florence's Uffizi Gallery and becomes disoriented by the disturbing beauty of the masterpieces on display. Soon thereafter, transfixed before Brueghel's "The Flight of Icarus," she faints and plunges into the painting's ocean. A handsome stranger helps her to her feet... But, in reality, this seemingly kind stranger is a serial rapist and murderer, the very one which she has been sent to apprehend. Once she recovers from her extreme amnesiatic reaction to the artwork--identified by a psychiatrist as "Stendhal Syndrome"--she discovers, all too late, that she has made herself vulnerable to the enemy.

Tip: if you're a romantic and plan on seeing Botticelli's VENERE at the Uffizi, take a boyfriend.

draw: art made her anxious


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