Geek Trivia

Which Of The Following Artists Does Not Have A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Named After Them?

Luca Signorelli
Raphael Sanzio
Leonardo Da Vinci
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Answer: Luca Signorelli

When it comes to honors in the art world, who needs to be viewed as the greatest sculptor or painter from a given era when one can be immortalized forever as the given name of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? Alas, not only was poor Luca Signorelli not seen as the greatest of an era, but he also failed to be immortalized in comic book lore by way of mutant turtles.

Instead, the four ninja turtles are named after four other Italian Renaissance-era artists. Donatello, best known as the intellectual of the group and identified by his purple custom accents and bo staff, is named after Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (1386-1466)–better known as Donatello to modern readers.

Leonardo, the leader of the turtles, garbed in blue, and wielding a pair of katana swords, is named after the storied polymath, artist, and inventor Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Raphael, accented in red and armed with two sais, is named after Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483-1520)–a hugely productive painter and architect who left a massive body of work despite his untimely death at the age of 37. Finally, Michelangelo, accented in orange and armed with a pair of nunchucks, is named after Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564), a skilled painter, sculptor, architect, and widely considered the greatest living artist during his lifetime.

What’s interesting about the name selection process is that it wasn’t particularly laden with meaning. Originally, the comic creators, Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, wanted to give the turtles Japanese names. But because they were struggling to come up with good authentic-sounding Japanese names, they opted to go with Renaissance artist names instead–the turtles were named after the artists they were the most familiar with.