Admiring Art is Good for You | Italian Experiment

Art is not only beautiful but it is also good for health.  Scientific research has proved this with experiments.  An experiment was conducted in Italy with 100  volunteers of the age between 18 to 81.

The monumental Basilica of Vicoforte, near the town of Cuneo, boasts the largest elliptical cupola in the world and is a place of pilgrimage for Catholics.

They were asked to climb the 240 steps of  the Church. Before climbing the 240 steps to the top of the church, researchers took samples of their saliva and measured levels of cortisol, a hormone which is produced in response to stress.  After climbing those steps they spent two hours admiring the cherubs, winged angels and bearded prophets on an 18th fresco .

After their 2 hours enjoyment of the art their cortisol level was analysed drawing their saliva samples.  Surprisingly, the levels dropped by 60% proving that art has therapeutic value.

"On average, we found that cortisol levels dropped by 60 per cent and that more than 90 per cent of the participants said they felt much better at the end of the experience," Professor Enzo Grossi, who studies the relationship between culture and physical health, told La Repubblica newspaper.

"The idea of art as therapy is not new. But this is the first time that the beneficial effect of art on health has been measured."

The cupola’s fresco was completed in 1752 by Mattia Bortoloni, a Rococo painter, and Felice Biella, a Milanese artist. The volunteers were aged between 19 and 81, a mix of male and female and with different educational levels. They were equipped with helmets and climbing harnesses for the climb up into the cupola, which soars nearly 200ft above the ground.

credit: Nick Squires, of

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