The Crying Boy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Crying Boy is a mass-produced print of a painting by Spanish painter Bruno Amadio, also known as Giovanni Bragolin. It was widely distributed from the 1950s onwards. There are numerous alternative versions, all portraits of tearful young boys or girls.


On September 4, 1985, the British tabloid newspaper The Sun reported that a firefighter 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.

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.

To lift the curse it is said you must give the painting to another or reunite the boy and the girl and hang them together.

Karl Pilkington has made reference to these events on The Ricky Gervais Show.

Steve Punt, British writer and comedian, investigated the "curse" of the crying boy in a BBC radio Four production called Punt PI. Although the programme is comic in nature Punt researches the history of the Crying Boy painting and reveals an intriguing past. The Punt PI page, Crying Boy episode (programme broadcast on Sat 9 Oct 2010, 10:30 on BBC Radio 4). The conclusion reached by the programme, following testing at the Building Research Establishment is that the prints were treated with some varnish containing fire repellant, and that the string holding the painting to the wall would be the first to perish, resulting in the painting landing face down on the floor and thus being protected.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Crying Boy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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