Friday, June 22, 2012

Matisse


The Dance, Henri Matisse, 1910
Say the name Matisse and most people immediately associate it with the French artist Henri Matisse. Matisse is an old French surname derived from "Matthew" or "Matias", meaning 'gift of god'. As with many surnames, Matisse is now being used as a given name for both boys and girls.

If you're interested in using Matisse, it's worth a check on the internet to see what is being said about Matisse, as it seems that this is one of those names that gets some quite different and passionate reactions. On one hand, one mother who names her daughter Matisse said that she receives nothing but compliments on her daughters name. But on yahoo answers, the responses to one woman's query about what people thought of the name were overwhelmingly negative - the favourite response chosen by voters was "I think it's really pretentious...it's like the parents are insecure nouveaux riches trying to shout to the world, "We are classy people who know about art!!!!! We appreciate art so much that we named our daughter MATISSE!" She went on to say "I don't think it makes any sense as a first name for a girl, either, since it's the surname of a male artist (Henri Matisse)" and "It also sounds like Maltese (those little white fluffy dogs). Just bad, bad, bad all around". I was more than a little shocked, as I doubt that anyone would actually say this to a child (or their parent) who bore this name!

I personally really like Matisse. And even though I like art, I wouldn't neccessarily choose it for it's "art factor" alone as there are other artists that I much prefer ;-). I think of it more as a girls name, probably because names ending in '-isse' or '-issa' tend to be girls names. If you wanted to differentiate it a little for your girl, maybe try the more feminine Matissa. Then it also lends itself to cute nicknames Mattie or Tissa.

If you have no problems with the nay-sayers who think it is a little pretentious (but would only say so behind your back, most likely) then this could be just the unique but not unheard of - or made up - name that you have been looking for. I can't see this hitting the top 10 or even top 100 any time soon, so you can be sure that this is one your child will not share with 5 other children in their classroom.


8 comments:

  1. Hi, OK so Matisse can seem a little pretentious and trendy but its still a brilliant name. I went to school with a girl named Matisse who was quite spectacular and individual and her father was a prominant art lecturer. So that made sense as to why he called her Matisse. I have always had a bit of an interest in art but loved the name so much I called my daughter Matisse, and so did others from my school obviously inspired by the same girl. Since then a good friend of mine also called her daughter Matisse because she like my daughters name so much. We call her Tisse and Tisi for short. She loves her name.

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    1. I think maybe those who think it's pretentious are those who aren't necessarily keen on art perhaps? It's so pretty though, I can see why people want to use it, and Tisse or Tisi are such cute nicknames :)

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  2. I'm a female & I thank my mom ever so often for having given me the name "Matisse." It is simply beautiful & my derived alias "Matt" is very affectionate & cool. The names that we give to our children are seeds that we plant into their lives. Nelson Mandela said "There is no passion to be found playing small" so I am not perturbed by "pretentious" criticisms. There will never be another Henri Matisse but who says we shouldn't aim to inspire & educate our future generations with classy, artistic names? Let's enjoy life & stop speaking unmerited, negative things about people's names.

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    1. Thanks for sharing those beautiful thoughts Matisse. It's great to hear from someone who actually has this rare name, and hear that you love and appreciate it.

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  3. Hey,
    I would just like to say that my name is Matisse and that all my life I've only ever heard compliments for my name. People (including myself) think it's a beautiful name and I would definitely love to hear more people have the same name as me! I admit it was embarrassing when I was at school and the teachers would call my name out for the first time and pronounce it wrong but then afterwards they would apologise and compliment it. I think that Matisse is a nice unisex name but I like it more as a females name due to the beautiful ring to it. The nicknames that I'm called are 'Tisse' or 'TC'.
    I've been searching all over the internet for a meaning to my name and finally I've found it. It means "Gift of God" or "Gift of the Lord".
    He he, thanks.

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  4. My son's name is Matisse, I, for one, am an art history aficionado and am married to a man from Tangiers where Henri Matisse painted. He is a unique boy with wonderful gifts and although he has autism he is a true love and we all adore him! His old babysitter used to call him, Tiss-tiss.

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  5. Matisse is a beautiful, wonderful name. i think it is cruel that people are picking on this name just because of how it sounds. all the Matisse's i have ever met are kind, artistic, loyal, awkward at times but in a funny way and can be fierce if their friend of themselves are threatened. they like to cheer up people who are sad and can be brave if needed to be. so i don't know who is putting this name down as horrible or silly but i hope they understand that people are different, people have different likes and dislikes so if there is a name that doesn't please you than im sorry you feel that way, but next time don't make it sound like something that people should be ashamed of. just say "thats unique" or "im more of a fan of the name jennifer". from a friend of a matisse

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  6. I called my daughter Matisse. I loved it since i was a teen. My Matisse is an absolute gift of God just like what it means. She has always been complemented and she loves her name. It is often shortened affectionately to TC. She is a brave, beautiful, individual person who melts everyone's hearts. People become easily smitten by her lovely heart. I have known people to fall in love with the name immediately and call their own daughter. You either love it or not.

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