The Importance of Naming a Painting

Naming a painting is an essential aspect of the creative process that determines how viewers interpret and perceive the artwork. A good title can provide context, evoke emotions, and offer a glimpse into the artist’s intent. Therefore, choosing the right title is crucial to the success of the painting.

Famous Paintings Examples and Their Names

Let’s take a look at some famous paintings and their names to understand how artists came up with their titles.

leonardo danvici painting naming

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci – The painting’s original title was “La Gioconda,” which translates to “The Happy One.” However, it is now more commonly known as “Mona Lisa,” after the subject’s name.

van gogh painting

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh – Van Gogh’s iconic painting was named after the stars in the night sky and the swirling clouds that dominate the painting’s foreground.


The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali – This surrealist masterpiece is named after the theme of time, with the melting watches symbolizing the fluidity of time.

Pro Tips for Naming a Painting

Now that we have looked at some examples let’s discuss some pro tips for naming a painting effectively.

  1. Keep it simple and descriptive – A title that accurately describes the painting’s subject matter can help viewers understand the artwork’s meaning.
  2. Think about the mood and tone – A title that reflects the painting’s mood and tone can evoke a particular emotional response in the viewer.
  3. Be creative and memorable – A unique and memorable title can help the artwork stand out and be more easily remembered.
  4. Consider the historical or cultural context – A title that references a historical or cultural event or context can add depth and meaning to the artwork.

How to Name a Painting

Now that we have covered the importance of naming a painting let’s discuss a framework for how to name a painting.

  1. Identify the subject matter – Look at the painting and identify the central subject or theme.
  2. Consider the mood and tone – Think about the emotions that the painting evokes and try to capture those in the title.
  3. Be creative – Brainstorm a list of potential titles, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different words and phrases.
  4. Narrow down the list – Choose the top three titles that best capture the painting’s essence and tone.
  5. Get feedback – Share the titles with friends, family, or other artists and get their feedback on which title is the most effective.
  6. Consider context – Is the painting related to any of your other artworks and if so, is there a common thread to follow.


In conclusion, naming a painting is a critical aspect of the creative process that can significantly impact how viewers perceive and interpret the artwork. By following the pro-tips and framework outlined in this article, artists can create effective and memorable titles that capture the painting’s essence and evoke an emotional response in viewers.

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