Urban legends: The Curse of The Crying-Boy
One of the Crying-Boy paintings by Bragolin.
Crying-Boy and the urban legend of this piece of art
The legend of the crying-boy painting has been going around for a long time. In de eighties some firemen discovered that a lot of fires started in houses that had the Bragolin painting of Crying-Boy, these are paintings of young boys...crying. The artworks bear the prominent signature of one Giovanni Bragolin. Rumors abounded that he painted hundreds of crying children, many of them street urchins, in either Italy or Spain.
One of the models he painted was a boy named Don Bonillo, who accidentally started a fire in which his parents died in Spain. From then on, wherever the boy went, a fire followed, prompting his nickname, Diablo. In the 1970s the boy was consumed by fire as well, in an explosion caused by a car accident.
Jane McCutchin, who had hung the print in her living room in the 1980s, was cleaning her kitchen when she found that her hand-made drapes, blinds and curtains were suddenly ablaze. Her family escaped alive, but her home had been destroyed—except for a single painting hung in her living room, of the crying boy. “You could still see the little boy’s face on the painting,” she said. Later, she heard a firefighter who saw the painting say: “Oh no, not another.”
Most of the fires had normal causes, like cigarettes, or unwieldy deep-frying pans. Since most of the myth surrounds the nearly unbelievable fire resistance of the painting, the materials of the prints have been tested. Because it was printed on a compressed board and had been treated with a varnish that was fire retardant, it was explainable that the paintings seem to survive the fires.
Still, the urban legend of The Crying-Boy remains.