As a fine artist and someone who is constantly striving for personal growth and success, I have come to realize just how important it is to have artwork in my home that inspires and motivates me. I truly believe that the pieces we choose to display in our homes can have a subconscious impact on our mindset and the trajectory of our lives.
I remember one time when I was struggling to create in my art studio. The space was cluttered and disorganized, and I just couldn't get into the creative flow. It wasn't until I took the time to clean and rearrange the space, and hung up a few of my favorite pieces of artwork, that I was finally able to get back into the groove of things. In fact, I find that the best cure for my urge to act like the worlds largest couch potato comes from me seeing others create. It is an instant inspiration boost.
This experience got me thinking about the psychology behind our environments and how they affect our mental health. There have been numerous studies done on the topic, showing that our surroundings can have a profound impact on our mood, productivity, and even our physical health.
One study found that people who work in a clean and organized environment are more likely to make healthier food choices and stick to an exercise routine. Another study found that the presence of artwork in a hospital setting can reduce stress and anxiety levels in patients. But lets go even more in depth.
The Florentine Syndrome, also known as Stendhal Syndrome, is a psychosomatic condition that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, and even hallucinations when a person is exposed to a particularly beautiful work of art or place. The condition is named after the 19th-century French author Stendhal who described his experience in Florence, Italy. Stendhal described feeling overwhelmed by the beauty of the art in Florence and experiencing a physical and emotional response that left him feeling faint and disoriented.
If you have no idea what I am talking about, or feel the sudden urge to call bullsh*t, a few years ago I would have simply smiled and agreed with you. I first learned of this mysterious effect that art or beautiful places have on the human mind when I was studying in the exact city by which this syndrome gets it's name. In 2016 I traveled abroad for the first time to live and study art in Florence, Italy. It was in my first month there when my Italian language professor, Lucciano decided to take us on a field trip to the Bargello, a sculptural museum in the city center.
Mind you, I had been to many other museums already since my arrival and seen artwork that is deemed as some of the most beautiful or famous in the world. So you can imagine what it must have felt like, after studying this art for years but not just the artwork itself... the lives of the painters and sculptors. The politics of the time. The skills and process in making of the materials. The time I put into recreating some of these works myself to understand their process. And now I was seeing them not just in a text books or on a screen but in person. Only a few inches in front of me. And it was moving, and they were beautiful, but this "syndrome" seemed a bit much.
So when Lucciano guided us up the ancient stone staircase inside the courtyard of this medieval fortress and into the hall where I turned and saw not only the original marble statue of David by Donatello from the early 1400's standing right next to the bronze statue of David by Verrocchio (whom legend says a young Leonardo da Vinci was the model) but also the later sculpted bronze David also by Donatello, I was so suddenly overcome with unexpected emotion that I couldn't stifle the shrill gasp that escaped me. As my visible and very audible sobs beckoned Lucciano to ask if I was alright, I realized that THIS is the effect of the Florentine Syndrome. I had to excuse myself outside to not only catch my breath and stop from CrYiNg (!?) but figure out what the hell just happened to me.
The Florentine Syndrome is a phenomenon that continues to fascinate and intrigue scholars (and me!) to this day. In fact, a number of studies have been conducted to better understand the psychological and physiological mechanisms behind the condition. I can tell you, it was a life altering and somewhat mortifying experience. (Lucciano loved to tease me about it any chance he got.)
The study of the Florentine Syndrome reminds us of the profound effect that beauty (at least what we as an individual deem beautiful) and aesthetics can have on our bodies and minds. It underscores the importance of surrounding ourselves with beauty, whether it be through art, nature, or the design of our living spaces. By intentionally seeking out and creating beauty in our environments, we can positively impact our mental health and well-being. I certainly felt butterflies while experiencing the effect of Florence. In essence, the Florentine Syndrome teaches us that the pursuit of beauty is not merely a frivolous pursuit, but a fundamental aspect of human nature that can help us live more fulfilling lives.
So, what does this mean for us in our own homes? It means that the artwork we choose to display can have a powerful impact on our daily lives. Surrounding ourselves with pieces that inspire and motivate us can help set us up for success, both personally and professionally.
Whether you're an ambitious business owner, a creative professional, or simply someone who wants to cultivate a more positive mindset, incorporating inspiring artwork into your home can be a simple yet effective tool in achieving your goals.
So, take a look around your home and consider the artwork you have on display. Does it inspire and uplift you? If not, it might be time to make some changes. Invest in pieces that speak to you on a deep level and make you feel motivated to tackle whatever challenges come your way.
Remember, the art we choose to display in our homes is more than just decoration. It's a reflection of who we are and what we aspire to be. By choosing pieces that inspire and motivate us, we can subconsciously set ourselves up for success and cultivate a more positive and fulfilling life.