The Crying Boy is a mass-produced print of a painting by Bragolin that was popular in Britain in the 1980s.
On September 4, 1985, the British tabloid newspaper The Sun reported that a fireman from Yorkshire was claiming that undamaged copies of the painting were frequently found amidst the ruins of burned houses. He stated that no firefighter would allow a copy of the painting into his own house. Over the next few months, The Sun and other tabloids ran several articles on house fires suffered by people who had owned the painting. (Since house fires are by no means uncommon, and since a not insignificant portion of the British population owned a copy of The Crying Boy, it was to be expected that the two would often coincide.)
By the end of November, belief in the painting's curse was widespread enough that The Sun was organising mass bonfires of the paintings, sent in by readers.
Reason enough for any rational thinking being to give the Crying Boy a wide berth.
But not for our happy famous friends who are always willing to take a risk.
Frivolous as they are they decided to make an installation involving the 'crying boy' phenomena. Even more careless they decided to burn the bewitched painting.
The rest of the story goes as follows:
“Bragolin Files” installation, Happy Famous Artists
in their own words:
As mentioned earlier, we (more specifically: JEFF! the bastard knew that we were driving with MY car, so we can allow ourselves a risk ;-))
were bringing to your party one of our crying boy paintings to ritually burn it. And because we had hardly any place left in the car, being with 5 people, we were holding the bloody painting on our laps while driving.
Now the spooky part comes: we've recently competed an installation involving the 'crying boy' phenomena. These paintings, produced by certain giovanni bragolin, are believed to be cursed (bragolin allegedly signed a pact with a devil)& people who have them in their possession will suffer some form of material damage. Most common is that their house gets burnt. Car accident is less frequent, but hey - we were asking for it!
Bringing a bewitched painting to burn it, that's PLAYING WITH THE DEVIL :P
Unfortunately the snapshots from the accident itself are taken with a phone camera & of a very poor quality (this will teach u to bring along a proper camera when the REAL action’s happening, teun ;-)),
but if u look really carefully, u can see the bastard of a crying boy lying behind the rear window of the car!!!
And further below u can read how we were teasing our luck & got our fingers (& my car ;-)) burnt!
Next time we'll bring a crying girl along :P
The Curse of the Crying Boy Paintings
Bruno Amadio, popularly known as Bragolin, and also known as Franchot Seville, Giovanni Bragolin, and G. Bragolin, is the supposed creator of a group of paintings known as Crying Boys. The paintings, which feature a variety of tearful children looking morosely straight ahead, are sometimes believed, in the fashion of an urban legend, to be cursed. Often they are the target of the popular myth that a particular picture will cause one’s house to burn down.
The Crying Boy is a mass-produced print of a painting by Bragolin that was popular in Britain in the 1980s and exists in several forms. The subject is a boy ranging in age from 4 to 10 years old. His clothing and the painting style differ depending on what period the artist has set him in.
The legend around this painting is as grim as it gets. The stories began around 1985, when several mysterious fires occurred all around England. When the debris was sifted through the only item that remained un-charred was a painting of a little boy with a tear rolling his cheek in every fire. Could this all be coincidence?
Whether real or not a Yorkshire fireman was so upset that he talked with the “Sun” newspaper in England. They ran his story about how everything in the home was consumed by fire except for a painting of a crying boy. There were at that time more than one of these paintings around and each seemed to have the same effect. The home and all contents would be totally destroyed but the painting of the little crying boy would not show any sign at all of going through a fire.
Handle with Care: It Might Help to Get a Crying Girl
Tales explaining The Curse of The Crying Boy began to spring up with alacrity. Some said the painter had mistreated the boy who was an orphan. Others said the boy set the fires because his parents had died in a fire and he was either acting out the trauma or had been responsible for the fire that left him orphaned to begin with. Psychics claimed the boy’s spirit was trapped in the painting. One woman said there would be no trouble if one kept the picture next to a painting of a Crying Girl. A male stripper called Big Doofer, whose real name was Adrian Martin, claimed the curse struck him when he suffered facial burns during his fire eating act. He blamed it on the painting because he said he had made the mistake of making fun of his wife’s Crying Boy not too long before appearing onstage.
By October of 1985, the Sun advertised the idea of having a huge bonfire to get rid of all the Crying Boy paintings that its readers wished off their premises. The October 31st edition of The Sun reported that thousands of Crying Boys were burned under the supervision of the fire brigade. Just speculating but they must have put them face down and while that should have been the end of it, it wasn’t by a long stretch.
After all, that didn’t get rid of all the Crying Boys. Just the ones that had been handed over. The Sun continued to report on sporadic incidents which evidently came from those who had not relinquished their paintings. The proportions of the legend began to mutate and it was even reported that the Crying Boy would bring good luck to those who deserved it. One gentleman who claimed to have rescued such a painting from the dustbin, reported that he soon began to win money at various gambling pastimes.
There have been reports of the crying boy painting being found in charred homes untouched since 1985 and as recent as 1988.
Pact with the Devil
It has been claimed that Giovanni Bragolin painted 28 paintings of various children crying all of which represent DEAD children. If you look closely at the pictures you can in fact spot some subliminal evil, for instance burn marks on their faces, also the pupils are clearly dilated despite the fact that light is shining towards the child.
It is reported that he since regretted his actions and in the late 80’s he appeared in the biggest TV channel in Brazil, Rede Globo, where he told everyone who has copies or originals to destroy them because he had made a evil pact in order to sell his paintings. It is said that the paintings bring extreme misfortune and disgrace to the owners, however, it is believed that the curse can be counteracted by hanging a picture of a crying girl alongside it. So what is it about these portraits? Are they possessed by the spirit of a dead child? Is the devil himself playing with fire? Or was 4 September 1985 a slow news day for The Sun?
Let’s look at the facts! It’s Britain in the mid 80’s and artwork for the first time is being mass produced. What sort of Brit would buy a mass produced portrait of a young child crying to hang in their home? Even by the 80’s standards it would have to be someone with little class or taste. Perhaps the type that would also regularly use a chip pan and smoke 30 fags a day yet see smoke alarms as something of an extravagance? And it is just a copy of a painting after all, paper, ink and a dodgy frame. No live bits, not even any electrical bits and surely the devil would have better things to do with his time than pop over to the North West of England and destroy a few homes just because some Spanish painter urged him to help to sell his paintings, that’d be a nuts trick! Whatever the reason, this is more than an urban legend, it is fact that these house fires happened and it is fact that the paintings would remain wholly unharmed. It would be one thing if it were just Sun readers amongst the flurry of people quick to report its evil but the story of The Crying Boy and its curse is a worldwide phenomenon.