Item #: SCP-1074
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-1074 is to be kept in a frame with an opaque cover, in a locked archive room at Site 342. No personnel are to view SCP-1074 under any circumstances, with the exception of D-class personnel undergoing testing. Any photography or video recording of SCP-1074 is to be conducted by remote-controlled drone.
In the event of accidental viewing of SCP-1074, subject is to be dosed immediately with Class-A amnesiacs and removed from the area where SCP-1074 is to be stored or tested. The person exposed shall report for psychiatric analysis every two days and receive additional amnesiacs as necessary for as long as the onset of exposure symptoms can be prevented.
Description: SCP-1074 is a portrait-sized oil painting on canvas, produced by an unidentified artist. When photographed or videotaped, the entirety of SCP-1074 appears to be painted a uniform shade of gray, with distinctly visible brush strokes. Samples removed from SCP-1074 by a remote-controlled drone have been identified as an oil-based gray paint of the type commonly available in art supply stores in the United States.
When SCP-1074 is viewed by a human being, the observer immediately begins to exhibit physiological symptoms similar to the onset of Stendhal syndrome1, including increased heart rate, sweating, and vertigo. The individual viewing SCP-1074 will attempt to vividly describe the image they are seeing to anyone present, frequently describing it as the greatest or most moving work of art they have ever seen. Statements from persons so affected describe it not as a blank gray canvas, but as a highly detailed painting of an inconsistent nature. No two individuals exposed to SCP-1074 have described the same painting; recurring themes in subject statements describe imagery suggesting human mortality, individual insignificance, legal or moral judgment, religious eschatology, and [REDACTED].
Once viewing SCP-1074, the subject will not willingly turn their gaze from it unless physically restrained, and will attempt to convince anyone else in their presence to look at it as well. Subjects will become rapidly disoriented and detached, attempting to discuss philosophical questions raised by the painting, of an increasingly esoteric nature as exposure continues. Within 3-5 minutes of first exposure, the subject becomes catatonic and ceases responding to outside stimuli. No means of reversing this state of catatonia has been discovered; the subject will remain stationary and die of natural causes within several days unless physically tended to. EEG readouts of individuals displaying SCP-1074-related catatonia indicate that the subject continues to demonstrate a high level of brain activity, commensurate with a person who is awake and fully aware of their surroundings.
If a subject is removed from the vicinity of SCP-1074 prior to the onset of catatonia, physical symptoms of exposure abate within 30 seconds. The psychological effects, however, continue to develop, albeit at a slower pace. Such individuals will frequently describe every detail of the picture they observed and will report seeing it in their dreams, upon closing their eyes or blinking, and in their peripheral vision while awake. Confusion, dissociation, and catatonia ensue within 5-8 days of first exposure on average; the lengthier the exposure to SCP-1074, the less time passes before onset of catatonia.
Class-A amnesiacs have proven capable of erasing memories of the image and restoring the subject to a normal mental state. In all observed cases, this is temporary; the subject will begin to report memories of the image, and associated mental defects, within seven days of receiving amnesiacs. Subsequent doses of amnesiacs have a gradually diminishing effect; the longest recorded period between exposure and catatonia at this time is 6 weeks, 4 days.
SCP-1074 came to the Foundation's attention on ██/██/20██, following reports of an outbreak of mass hysteria at the █████████ Gallery in [REDACTED]. After the initial cleanup team experienced the effects of SCP-1074 firsthand, it was retrieved by drone. Gallery management stated that the exhibition of the painting, titled "Stendhal's Nightmare", had been arranged indirectly by the artist's agent, had been delivered and installed the night before by a staff under the agent's direction, and was covered by a veil until it was exposed at the opening of the exhibition. All contact information provided by the gallery was found to be fraudulent.