I just completed my 3D modeling class at Drexel. The object of the course was to familiarize students with Maya's modeling, lighting and texturing capabilities. This was my first experience with Maya and any 3d package. The final project was to create scene for a character to inhabit. The character I chose was a painter and my final scene was the painter's studio. The models were created in Maya while the textures were created in Illustrator and Photoshop. The first image is a screenshot from Maya.
The rest are renders of different angles of the scene. I used Mental Ray as the render engine and they took about two to five hours to render.
I spent a substantial amount of time setting this scene up. The lamp itself, with all the trial and error of different techniques, took close to 30 hours. All I can do is speculate how long the entire scene took to model, texture, and light but I would say it is easily around 50 hours, not including the lamp or the render times.