Urban Legends

The Crying Boy Painting Urban Legend

The legend of the Crying Boy painting is a chilling tale that has captured imaginations and stirred fears for decades. Originating from a series of paintings by Italian artist Giovanni Bragolin in the 1950s, these artworks depict a sorrowful young boy, his eyes brimming with tears.

While the paintings themselves are haunting, the legend that surrounds them is even more unsettling.

The Urban Legend

The Crying Boy by Giovanni Bragolin (pen name Bruno Amarillo).

According to urban folklore, people who hung a Crying Boy painting in their homes were doomed. This belief gained traction in the 1980s when British tabloids reported several house fires in which the only surviving item was invariably one of Bragolin’s Crying Boy paintings.

Firefighters discovered, despite the widespread destruction, the paintings remained eerily untouched by the flames.

Investigations into the fires revealed no logical explanation for the paintings’ resilience, fueling superstitions and paranoia. Some speculated that the portraits were cursed, imbued with the spirit of the weeping boy they depicted.

Others believed Bragolin had inadvertently trapped the souls of orphaned children—who had perished in fires—within his art, their restless spirits bringing misfortune to anyone who owned a painting.

A Flash Fiction

The Crying Boy Painting Urban Legend

The old attic in the villa was shrouded in shadows. The air, thick with decades of dust and forgotten memories. Elena had inherited the estate from her late grandmother, and curiosity drove her to explore every corner of the sprawling property.

As if in a trance, she found herself drawn to an ornate, cobweb-covered easel. A painting partially hidden beneath a tattered cloth.

With a tentative hand, she pulled the cloth away, revealing the haunting eyes of a young boy, tears shimmering on his cheeks. Elena shuddered as she recognized the infamous “Crying Boy” painting. The boy’s sorrowful gaze seemed to follow her, a ghostly reminder of an urban legend she had heard whispers of throughout her childhood.

A Grandmother’s Warning

As a child, Elena’s grandmother had warned her about the painting. “Never let it into your home, cara mia, (my darling).” Nonna had said. “It brings misfortune. Fires follow wherever it goes.” But the painting was already here. In her new home. Among relics of the past.

Determined to uncover the truth, Elena delved into an old treasure chest. She discovered a faded letter from Giovanni Bragolin, the Italian painter who had created the series of portraits. The letter, dated 1950, was addressed to Elena’s grandmother.

“Dearest Emilia,” it began in elegant script. “I am sending you the painting of the orphaned boy, one of my last works. He has no name, no family. His eyes speak of a sorrow I cannot erase. I hope you will give him the home he never had.”

Elena’s heart ached as she imagined the orphaned boy, his sorrow immortalized in brushstrokes. She wondered if the stories were true. Was the painting truly cursed? Would it bring calamity to those who possessed it.

A Dream

That night, Elena dreamt of fire. Flames danced around the villa, consuming everything in their path. Amidst the chaos, she saw the boy from the painting, standing in the center of the inferno, his tears extinguishing the flames that licked at his feet. He looked at her with pleading eyes, as if asking for her help.

She woke drenched in sweat, the acrid scent of smoke lingering in her nostrils. Trembling, she made her way to the attic. The painting remained unchanged. The boy’s sorrowful eyes stared at her.

The Historian

Driven by a sense of urgency, Elena sought a local historian who specialized in Bragolin’s work. The historian, an elderly man named Signor Rossi, listened intently as Elena recounted her findings and the strange dream.

“Ah, the Crying Boy,” Rossi said, nodding sagely. “There is indeed a dark legend surrounding these paintings. It is said that Bragolin captured the souls of orphaned children in his works. Children who had perished in fires. Their restless spirits are said to bring misfortune to those who possess the paintings.”

Elena’s eyes widened. “But why? Why would the artist do such a thing?”

Rossi sighed. “The loss of his own son in a fire tormented Bragolin. He believed that by painting these children, he could give them the homes they never had, as if by preserving their sorrow, he could keep their memories alive.”

Happily Ever…

Elena returned to the villa with a heavy heart, the weight of the boy’s sorrow pressing upon her. She honored Bragolin’s intent and gave the boy the home he never had. She placed the painting in the parlor and  put fresh flowers beneath it in a colorful, ornate vase.

Every night, she sat before the painting and spoke to the boy as if he were with her. Over time, the villa seemed to grow warmer, more inviting. The legend of the Crying Boy still lingers but in Elena’s home, his tears were no longer a curse.

Question from Clara

So, if you ever come across a painting of a tearful child, will you buy it?

Want more creepy? Please check out my other blogs.

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Clara Bush
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2 replies on “The Crying Boy Painting Urban Legend”

Interesting about the painting. I’d not heard of it before. Now, if I see one of those paintings I would not buy it and put it in the house .. just in case it is true what happens. 🙂

I’m with you Barbara. I would not take a chance. I’ve lived in too many haunted houses. I am very much in awe of the unknown. And always investigate with respect and an open mind. Thank you for commenting. —Clara.

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