Stendhal Syndrome, or, Why I Cry at Art

You have no idea how relieved I was when I found out that Stendhal Syndrome was a thing.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve cried at art.

I cried at the symphony. I cried at the museum. I left my own little trail of tears all over Paris.

Art – and when I say “art” I mean any creative work – makes me cry for a bunch of reasons, but the primary one is this:

I am deeply moved by any art that stands the test of time.

I mean, that’s what we all want, right?

To create something that survives after our death?

So, witnessing a creative act that fulfilled the artist’s vision of longevity…eternity, even…?

That just wrecks me.

“We work in the dark–we do what we can–we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.” – Henry James, The Middle Years

We work in the dark indeed.

We do not know where our work is going. We do not know what will happen to our work or our reputation once we’re gone.

Would Van Gogh’s impoverished life been different if he’d somehow known that he would go on to be one of the world’s bestselling artists of all time?

My grandmother made seriographs and lithographs, and I just heard from someone who bought one of her works 25 years ago. She wrote to tell me how much the piece had meant to her and to her special-needs child all these years.

I cried at that, too.

So my question for you is: what are you creating that will live after you’re gone?

It doesn’t have to be anything big or “important.”

It can be anything.

As long as it comes from your heart.

What ‘s your heartfelt project?

(drop it into the comments)