There are so many places to look for inspiration when naming your baby. Family, culture, or special meanings are always a great place to start. But for a truly unique baby name, it’s fun to consider baby names inspired by artists. (Hey: it’s what Splinter did when he named the
Ninja Turtles and they’re rad.) From Ancient Greece to modern day, Japan to Brooklyn, painters to photographers, there’s a whole lot of beauty out there, so dive in — baby names inspired by artists will cover just about every style you can think of.
Historically, the art world has been primarily interested in white, male artists, and while we don’t know want to diminish their accomplishments (the world is a better place with Michelangelo’s
Pietà in it), we do want to be sure to include a more diverse array of artists than most people are used to seeing. So while we’ve kept mostly to artists in the Western tradition, we’ve been sure to include women and people of color. Some of these artists were successful and celebrated in their time, while others are only now receiving the recognition they deserve.
Whether you’re an artist, an art fan, or just looking for a
unique name for your latest masterpiece, these baby names inspired by artist have something for everyone. 1 Artemisia Greek; “moon goddess”
Artemisia Gentileschi was an
Italian Baroque painter and the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno. She is known for her impeccable technique and sensitive approach to female subjects. 2 Leonardo Italian; “strong as a lion”
When you talk about artists, Leonardo Da Vinci is probably one of the first to come to mind. A prodigious polymath, DaVinci could do just about anything he took an interest in... finishing projects, however, was another matter entirely.
3 Blake Old English; “pale; dark haired”
Though perhaps better known for his poetry, William Blake is also celebrated for his dreamlike (and often nightmarish) etchings and engravings.
4 Pablo Spanish; “small; humble”
Perhaps no artist of the 20th century is celebrated more than Pablo Picasso. Though his technical skill for realistic painting and drawing was extraordinary, he developed his own unique, evocative, and unmistakable style.
5 Georgia Greek; “earth-worke; farmer”
Known for her landscapes of the American Southwest and somewhat suggestive depictions of flowers, Georgia O’Keeffe is hailed as the “mother of American modernism.”
6 Edgar Old English; “rich spear”
Unlike most of his fellow Impressionists, Edgar Degas preferred to paint people (especially bathing women and ballerinas) and scenes from racetracks rather than nature. He was also a talented sculptor who worked in bronze.
7 Kusama Japanese; meaning varies depending on the characters used
Yayoi (another great Japanese name, usually meaning “new life” or “the month of March”) Kusama is among the most influential and successful living artists in the world. Though she is primarily a sculptor and installation artist, she is also a painter, performance and video artist, fashion designer, and writer. Her work often includes lots and lots of dots.
8 Raphael Hebrew; “God has healed”
One of the few artists to be known by his first name rather than his last, Raffaello (Raphael in English) Sanzio da Urbino was a Renaissance master best known for painting and architecture.
9 Cindy Greek; “moon goddess; from Mt. Cynthus”
American photographer Cindy Sherman is best known for her self-portraits, in which she depicts herself as a variety of different characters. Her work is generally interpreted to be an exploration of how women are seen in society.
10 Dalí Spanish and Catalan; meaning is uncertain
Salvador Dalí and his work were, in a word,
weird. There are few mediums the Surrealist Spanish artist did not attempt, from architecture to Disney cartoons ( no, really), but he is best known for his bizarre-yet-meticulously rendered paintings. 11 Lavinia Latin; in legend, Lavinia is the wife of the Trojan hero Aeneas
Lavinia Fontana was an Italian mannerist painter best known for her portraits. Trained by her father, Prospero, she is considered to be one of the first female career artists in Europe.
12 Vincent Latin; “conquering”
Vincent Van Gogh, the ill-fated Post-Impressionist Dutch painter is known for his bold, evocative, and painterly landscapes, still lifes, and portraits.
13 Élisabeth French via Hebrew; “God’s promise”
Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, known professionally as Madam Le Brun, was a French portraitist who worked between the Rococo and Neoclassical periods in France. Well known for her remarkable technique and sumptuous style, Vigée LeBrun was considered one of the foremost painters of her day, in her own time: a remarkable feat for a woman in 18th and 19th century France.
14 Édouard FluxFactory/E+/Getty Images French from Old English; “wealthy guard”
Édouard Manet (not to be confused with
Monet, though they were contemporaries ) was a modernist painter who helped pave the way for Impressionism. Some of his notable works include Luncheon on the Grass and Olympia, which were considered scandalous in the 1800s but are now revered as vital masterpieces. 15 Chicago Algonquin; “striped skunk; onion”
Is this the name of one of Kim Kardashian’s children? Yes. But it’s also the adopted name of Judith Cohen aka Judy Chicago. Chicago’s work explores birth, creation, and the role of women in history. Her most famous with is
The Dinner Party, a large triangular table with places set for famous women throughout history. 16 Gustav Old Swedish; “god’s staff”
Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt is known for his resplendent, often erotic paintings and murals, many of which were inspired by Japanese art techniques.
17 Frida German; “peace”
Frida Kahlo was a surrealist painter who drew from Mexican culture and folk art to create rich,
fantastical, and deeply personal work, much of which is both self-portrait and exploration of pain, colonialism, gender, and other questions of identity. 18 Jean-Michel French via Hebrew; “ graced by God, one who is like God”
Brooklyn native Jean-Michel Basquiat rose to fame in his 20s as a leading figure in the neo-expressionist movement whose work explored concepts of contradiction.
19 Kara Turkik; “black” | Irish; “friend” | Latin; “beloved”
Kara Walker (honestly, feel free to go with “Walker” as well), is a contemporary best known for her silhouettes. Her MacArthur fellowship-winning work explores subjects and intersections of race, gender, violence, and sexuality, and she is considered among the most important artists working today.
20 Amedeo Latin; “lover of God”
Amedeo Modigliani, a Jewish-Italian painter and sculptor is one of those artist who never quite achieved renown in his own time, but has become beloved after death. He is best known for his surrealist images of tall, slender women with strangedly elongated faces.
21 Maya Halfpoint Images/Moment/Getty Images Greek; “good mother” | Sanskrit; “illusion” | Hebrew; “water” | Māori; “courage”
At just 21 years old, still an undergraduate at Yale, Maya Lin rose to fame when she won the commission to design the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. Since then, the sculptor has created a variety of works, but continues to specialize in historical memorials and monuments.
22 Turner English via Old French; “woodworker”
William Turner was a prolific Romantic painter from England best known for his dramatic maritime scenes and landscapes.
23 Hilma Swedish; “determined protector”
Hilma af Klint was among the first abstract artists in Europe. She found inspiration through the spiritualist movements of the late-19th and early-20th centuries.
24 Matisse French via Hebrew: “gift of God”
Henri (another good name!) Matisse was a French Fauvist painter and collagist whose emphasis on shape and color earns him a place in the pantheon of 20th century artists. Matisse is a wonderful gender-neutral, unique baby name.
25 Augusta Latin; “great, magnificent”
Augusta Savage was a Harlem Renaissance sculptor whose studio proved seminal to a generation of American artists. Her work explores gender and race.
26 Georges French via Greek; “earth-worker; famer”
Georges Seurat, a post-Impressionist French painter, took concepts of light and color a step further via his creation of the pointillist style, which uses tiny dots of color to give the illusion of solid fields of color.
27 Louise French; “renowned warrior”
Louise Bourgeouis, a French-American sculptor is known for her large-scale works, most famously, perhaps, the enormous, somewhat spooky-looking spider titled
Maman. 28 Kehinde Yoruba; “second-born twin”
Kehinde Wiley is a contemporary artist best known for his
florid, almost photo-realistic portraits of Black people, most famously President Obama. 29 Leonora Italian; “light”
Leonora Carrington was an English surrealist painter whose work whimsically and symbolically explored themes of female sexuality and women’s role in the creative process.
30 Pippin Old French; possibly “seed” or “gardener”
Horace Pippin was a self-taught artist who painted on a variety of subjects, including World War I, landscapes, biblical scenes, slavery, and segregation. He was hailed as one of the most important Black painters of the 20th century.
31 Tamara Arabic; “palm tree”
Tamara de Lempicka was a Polish artist who worked in the United States and France primarily as a portraitist. More often than not, her subjects were wealthy or aristocratic women, whom she would paint in a highly stylized, Art Deco style.
32 Ravi Sanskrit; “sun”
Raja Ravi Varma is hailed as the father of modern Indian painting, blending European style and technique with Indian aesthetic and iconography.
33 Zee Dutch; “from the sea”
Photographer James Van Der Zee, whose portraits of Black New Yorkers perhaps best documented the Harlem Renaissance, is great baby name inspiration. We adore Zee as a unique, artistic baby name.
34 Marina Latin; “from the sea”
Marina Abramović is a performance artist whose work focuses on the limitations of the body, relationships, and the blurred lines between art and audience.
35 Claude Senko Nelly/Moment/Getty Images French; “lame”
Claude Monet is another one of those artists that even people who aren’t really into art might well know. Probably the most famous impressionist painter, his depictions of landscapes and gardens and distinct
use of color are instantly recognizable as his. 36 Acee Latin; “one; unity”
Acee Blue Eagle was a Muscogee (also called Creek) painter and muralist. His work focused on scenes of Indigenous culture and life.
37 Mickalene Invented name of unclear origin
Mickalene Thomas is a mixed media painter whose work explores femininity, beauty, race, and gender. Her style is informed by 20th century styles, ranging from Impression and Cubism to Pop Art and Dadaism.
38 Myron Greek; “myrrh; fragrant oil”
Myron of Eleutherae was a Ancient Greek sculptor whose figures of the human body would be the basis of Western style for centuries.
Discobolus or The Discus Thrower is one of the most recognized sculptures in the world. 39 Susannah Hebrew; “lily”
Susanna Hornbolt was an English Renaissance portraitist best known for painting members of the Tudor Court, including Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife Catherine Parr.
40 Edmonia Latin via Old English; “wealthy protector”
Edmonia Lewis was a 19th century American sculptor who worked in Rome. Ojibwe and Black, Lewis depicted Indigenous and Black figures in a Neoclassical style.
Hopefully this list provides the necessary creative inspiration to name your little
artiste. No matter which artist-inspired baby name you go with, you’re sure to find something that fills your family with joy.