I listened to a podcast years ago where Susan Calman got friends of hers to introduce her to new hobbies. One of them involved going to an art gallery and appreciating paintings by looking at them from different angles.
And then an episode of Crowd Science (another podcast) also involved going to an art gallery and similarly the idea was to look at paintings from other angles. Including lying on the floor.
I recently went to an art gallery. I wondered round and if something took my fancy I read the description and looked at the painting for longer.
There was one with a group of people in a boat and the longer I looked at it the more details I noticed. It made it more interesting. I thought I've got the hang of this looking at paintings thing.
And then I looked at a horse. It was a horse. There wasn't a background, it was just a horse. It didn't matter how long I looked at it, it was still just a horse. And then I looked at Van Gogh's sunflowers and it looked like what I already knew it looked like because I've seen pictures. It was unexciting.
There were a lot of Jesus-y paintings. Where I learnt on the second one I saw that John the Baptist was Jesus's cousin. Which explained why he was in the first painting. And I also realised that the only thing I know about John the Baptist is his name. And then I thought how hard it must be to sleep if you have a halo - there's no way of getting your head on a pillow where the halo wouldn't get in the way.
Then I found my way back to non-Jesus-y paintings and there was one of Narcissus being distracted by his reflection. With a couple of women peering around a tree at him. And a random topless woman that is out in the open that no one has noticed. I thought maybe that's the point because Narcissus is being distracted by himself and the two women are marvelling at him. But then it still seemed like the topless woman was in there because the painter just fancied painting a topless woman. I felt like I was doing English Lit at school and ascribing meaning the author didn't put in just because the teacher told us it was there.
I found a painting with more detail, of a dockyard and some workers. In the snow. Although when I looked at the painting for longer I realised that perhaps the painter thinks that all water is white. And then realised that the painter also can't do faces. I mean, I can do faces better than that and I really can't do faces.
And then I got bored with looking at paintings because it's just looking at a load of pictures and I couldn't really see the point. So now I feel like I've tried that and don't have to do it again. So it's a 2/5, if only because in a choice between an art gallery and a sauna it's a very easy choice. And at least it was free.