Can Art Drive Us Crazy?

At the Louvre on August 2, security guards wrestled a Russian visitor to the floor and subdued her after she hurled a cup of steaming-hot English Breakfast tea at the Mona Lisa. Flung over the heads of other tourists, the cup and its contents scored a direct hit -- or would have, were the famous painting not shielded by a sheet of bulletproof glass. The Russian woman had just bought the tea at a museum cafe. She was handed over to police and is now in their custody. Having undergone a psychological examination, she might be charged with a crime.


Doctors were trying to assess whether she was suffering from Stendhal Syndrome, a rare condition that causes dizziness, confusion or violent acts when an individual is exposed to art.