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Mysterious Painting of the Crying Boy

Updated on August 2, 2013

by Christine B.

Who among us has not seen a painting that seems haunted—as if the eyes of the person in a painting are following us as we move across a room? Have you ever gazed upon a painting that made you feel uncomfortable? This painting of a young boy with tears on his cheeks brings the same unnerving feelings to its viewers, but for a very specific reason.

The picture was originally painted by Italian artist, Bruno Amadio, (1911-1985) also known as Giovanni Bragolin in the 1950’s. It was so popular that many prints of the picture were circulated and it began showing up in homes throughout the world.

Not long afterwards many mysterious fires began plaguing homes that had this painting/print hanging on its walls. In 1985 these fires were brought to the public’s attention by England’s Sun newspapers. Firemen reported seeing this painting hanging in many of the homes they were called to rescue. In every case, although the homes were almost totally destroyed, the paintings of the Crying Boy was unscathed. The paintings were found still hanging on the walls in pristine condition, although everything else around it was burnt and destroyed. Forty to fifty cases of this same event were documented.

There are several legends surrounding this painting and of the little boy Bruno Amadio used as a model for it. One is that the boy was a street urchin who was orphaned when his house caught on fire, killing his parents. Amadio took pity on the young boy and took him into his home, despite warnings from the local priest who was convinced that the boy was the person who set the fire that killed his mother and father.

The painting brought the artist fame and a solid income after it was reprinted, but a few years after the original was painted his Artist's shop burnt down and he lost everything. Coincidence? You all know how I feel about coincidence--no such thing. Many believe that the small child in the painting is somehow haunting it and causing the houses to burn. Is that possible? ANYTHING is possible. Just in case, I would not hang the tearful child on my wall.


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    • europewalker profile image


      5 years ago

      Interesting read. It makes you wonder just how often things like that really happen. Voted up.

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 

      5 years ago from Aurora

      Interesting. Some beautiful things like the Hope diamond were also said to bring bad luck to its owners...

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Harte 

      5 years ago from Glasgow

      Interesting hub... The eyes following you from a painting was actually an intentional placement by the artist. They would specifically mark out the canvas into even sections, then place the eyes accordingly. I can't remember where they would need placed exactly ( not something I needed to do for my own work) but it was done intentionally to make their paintings interactive..

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      I've heard about this. I think the artist painted a whole series of crying boy paintings with different children. As I recall, the little boy in the key picture in the centre of the controversy died in a burning car when he was a teenager. Yep, spooky. :)

    • Bishop55 profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      I found this very interesting. Very nice and I learned something new because I've never seen this before. The picture is very creepy, why anyone would want that as a decoration is beyond me.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      My gosh! I have never heard about this before. It is very interesting. I do not think it impossible that a curse was placed on the boy and the painting. Very good hub.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      5 years ago from England

      Hi, I remember hearing about this years ago, but didn't know the story behind it, so spooky!


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