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.

Personal work

From Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

"Today, artwork does not emerge from a secure common ground... Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience or reward. Making the work you want to make means setting aside these doubts so that you may see clearly what you have done, and thereby see where to go next. Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment within the work itself."