Pseudonym

DEFINITION

A fictitious name for a person or thing. When used as the name of a person, a pseudonym may or may not have been legally adopted in place of that person's original name. A pseudonym might be a nickname or an alias, and might be noted as "aka" or "also known as." Among writers, a pseudonym is often called a "pen name" or, in French, a nom de plume, often employed when an author would rather not have his or her actual name on a publication. Among actors a pseudonym is called a "stage name" or a "screen name." A number of visual artists have come to be identified more by their pseudonyms than by the names given to them at birth. Reasons for taking a pseudonym often involve economic or political reasons, but as often to have been derived for convenience or from playful whims. A pseudonym might be deemed necessary to shed or disguise a name which is perceived as out of style, or otherwise off-putting; sometimes because it indicates an artist's prominent interest, a physical trait, or regional origin. An artist might adopt a pseudonym when works are of a kind which are very different from works by which the artist is known or wishes to be know.Example pseudonyms for artists include: "Donatello" for Donato di Nicolo Bardi (1386-1466), Italian Florentine sculptor. See Renaissance. "Il Sodoma" for Giovanni Antonio Bazzi (1477-1549), Italian Sienese painter. "Canaletto" for Giovanni Antonio Canal (1697-1768), Italian painter. See etching and Rococo. "El Greco" for Dom?nico Theotoc?poulos (1541-1614), Spanish painter who was born in Crete. See Mannerism. "Grandma Moses" for Anna Mary Robertson Moses (1860-1961), American folk art painter. See feminism and feminist art. "Giovanni Barbbaro" for Arthur Dudley (exhibited 1890-1907), English painter. "Le Corbusier" for Charles Edouard Jeanneret (1887-1965), French architect. "AM Cassandre" for Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron (1901-1968), Ukrainian-born artist who worked in France and the USA. See diagonal and poster. "Dr. Seuss" for Theodore Geisel (1904-1991), American children's book illustrator and writer. "Tom of Finland" for Touko Laaksonen (1920 to 1991), Finnish-American artist. "Judy Chicago" or "Judy Gerowitz Chicago" for Judy Cohen (1939-), American artist born in Chicago. See feminism and feminist art. "Sofonisba Anguissola," "Judith Leyster," "Angelica Kauffmann," "Rosa Bonheur," "Berthe Morisot," "Mary Cassatt," "Frida Kahlo," "Eva Hesse," and others for members of the Guerrilla Girls, a contemporary American feminist group founded in 1985, who take pseudonyms from the names of deceased women artists whenever they are interviewed, so that members can be distinguished from each other, but otherwise remain unidentified. See feminism and feminist art.Also see fame, identity, signature, theater, and unsigned.

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