A critic should always strive to recapture the sense of wonder and surprise with which he first beheld a now-familiar work of art. . . . For most of us, however, that means taking an occasional vacation from even the greatest of paintings, and this recommendation is truer still in the case of artworks that, like novels or films or pieces of music, can be consumed at home and at will. In the age of mechanical reproduction, it has become too easy to experience them too often for our own good.
To this end, I propose a thought experiment: a "masterpiece moratorium" in which the participants agree not to view, listen to, read about, discuss or take part in performances of certain selected masterpieces for a full year.