Slow Looking Challenge
If you have visited a museum, do you remember how much time you spent looking at an artwork? If you haven’t yet visited a museum, imagine how long you would spend looking at one work.
Some people look at many works of art while other people look at only one or two during their museum visit. Watching many museum visitors at a lot of different museums, researchers found on average a person spends less than 27 seconds looking at an object.
Follow the steps below to take our Slow Looking Challenge. How much will you see with a quick glance versus a longer look when you explore St. Jerome in His Study, by Albrecht Dürer. You may be surprised how many new things stand out to you with each step.
What You’ll Need:
- Paper (something to write on)
- Pencil (something to write with)
- Timer (or someone to count seconds: one, one thousand, two, one thousand, etc.)
First Look: 3 Seconds
- Step 1: Look at the image for 3 seconds, then turn away.
- Ready? Click here to begin looking at St. Jerome in His Study, by Albrecht Dürer.
- Step 2: Without looking at the image, make a list of what you remember from the image. Circle your list.
Second Look: 10 Seconds
- Step 1: Look at the image again for 10 seconds.
- Ready? Look at Dürer’s engraving once more.
- Step 2: Without looking, add to your list. How many more things do you remember?
Third Look: 30 – 60 seconds
- Step 1: Look at the image one more time for at least 30-60 seconds.
- Ready? For the final time, explore the details of Dürer’s engraving.
- Step 2: Now, add to your list. Compare what you noticed with each look.
- How many more things did you notice this time looking at the image?
- Are there similar shapes or lines throughout the image?
- Does anything repeat or do you see any patterns?
- What is the biggest thing and what is the smallest thing?
- What did you not notice in your first two looks?
Saint Jerome is best known for translating the Hebrew Bible into Latin. This took a long time and required patience. In this print, he works at a slanted writing desk on a table. Sunlight shines through the windows creating circular patterns. There are two companion animals on the floor: a lion is a symbol of Saint Jerome and the snoozing dog symbolizes loyalty. Did you notice his books, pillows, and shoes? What else did you notice?
Continue to improve your Slow Looking technique. Put your new skills to the test. Explore our collection, then focus on an interesting, new or favorite piece.
Slow Looking sample image: Albrecht Dürer, German, 1471 – 1528, Saint Jerome in His Study, Engraving, 1514.