It’s a question we’re faced with any time we engage with any bit of art, from a game to an album to a painting-how long are you supposed to spend time with before you’ve digested the thing? This question was raised by the BBC regarding the new Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the National Gallery in London.
In Syson’s expert opinion you need “10 minutes, minimum” to properly explore each painting. He describes seeing a Leonardo “in the flesh” as an “extraordinary experience”, one that cannot ever be reproduced.
“You really need to look,” he says. “They are immensely rewarding.”
For what it’s worth, I spent about an hour trying to look at the Mona Lisa once. I ended up getting pushed out of the way shortly after I saw it. My time with the painting was about two minutes. It’s really small. I also played NBA 2K11 every day for a month, trying to beat Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one using only Drake. Still haven’t done it. So I guess it’s a sliding scale?