The theme for 2012 is great works of art, and dinosaurs, because the Chinese year is the year of the dragon.
Chinese New Year
Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji - Ryogoku in the Eastern Capital
By Hiroshige, 1859
This is the title of two series of woodblock prints depicting Mount Fuji in differing seasons and weather conditions from a variety of different places and distances.
By Grant Wood, 1930
Wood's inspiration came from a cottage designed in the Gothic Revival style with a distinctive upper window and a decision to paint the house along with "the kind of people I fancied should live in that house." The painting shows a farmer standing beside his spinster daughter. The figures were modeled by the artist's dentist and sister. The woman is dressed in a colonial print apron mimicking 19th century Americana and the couple are in the traditional roles of men and women, the man's pitchfork symbolizing hard labor, and the flowers over the woman's right shoulder suggesting domesticity.
By Michelangelo, 1504
The Biblical hero David is a favoured subject in the art of Florence. This statue symbolized the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Florentine Republic, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were turned towards Rome. This was the first time that David was portrayed with Goliath completely omitted, and it is said this was David when he had decided to fight Goliath and before the actual fight.
Leonardo da Vinci, ~1503-1519
The painting depicts Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a wealthy Florentine silk merchant, whose facial expression has been frequently described as enigmatic. The ambiguity of the subject's expression, the monumentality of the composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the continuing fascination and study of the work.
Snow over Rivers and Mountains (江山雪霽)
By Wang Shimin (王时敏), 1668
This work was done at the age of 76. The mountain in the background appears to lean to one side, creating a sense of energy and instability that enlivens the painting. The pure and elegant brushwork, combined with the subdued coloring and forceful composition, represents a lyrical recreation of the so-called "blue-and-green" wash style of landscape painting from the T'ang dynasty (618-907).
The Starry Night
By Vincent van Gogh, 1889
The painting depicts the view outside van Gogh’s sanitarium room window at night, although it was painted from memory during the day. Although widely hailed as his magnum opus, he was actually not so happy with this work.