Impression Story


The Crying Boy 
 The Crying Boy is a mass-produced print of a painting by Italian 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.
Karl Pilkington has made reference to these events on The Ricky Gervais Show. Ricky Gervais dismissed the curse as "bollocks".
Steve Punt, a 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 researched the history of the Crying Boy painting. The conclusion reached by the programme, following testing at the Building Research Establishment, is that the prints were treated with some varnish containing fire repellent, 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, although no explanation was given as to why no other paintings were turning up unscathed. The picture was also mentioned in an episode about cursss in the TV series Weird or What? in 2012.

Dore’s Satimbanques

Gustave Doré (1832-1883) - Les Saltimbanques (Entertainers), 1874
Several paintings of card readers tell fascinating stories. As tarot readers we work with the images in pictures as rich symbols of the human condition. It would be interesting to hear what story you see in this powerful and heartbreaking painting by Gustave Doré. Use the “Comments” to share with us what you think has just happened and what message the artist may have had. Refer to as many of the symbols as you can to tell us what their story is. As noted above, Saltimbanque, while a French word, is from the Italian saltare in banco, “jumping on a platform,” and signifies “tumbler, performer, entertainer.” Saltimbanques are a subset of acrobats, performing only on the ground.  I understand the word has a slightly perjorative connotation that includes buffoonery and charlatanism. Marilee reports in the Comments that the painting is also called “The Injured Child,” which suggests that all hope might not be lost. (Click on the picture to make it larger and then click again for one more zoom.)

Snap the Whip
Homer, Winslow 
1872 Oil on Canvas 
“Snap the Whip,” painted by Homer, is similar to Ambrose Bierce’s Chickamauga. Both mediums seem to portray children playing games in a very innocent manner. The opening image in Chickamauga is a child pretending to have a battle with an invisible foe. The child pretends that he beats his enemy and is victorious like his father was against the Indians. In the picture, the children are playing snap the whip; they are trying to force each other to let go and fly off. Though both games seem innocent, as the viewer looks closer they realize that creators are trying to portray a darker side of society. In Chickamauga the child naps through a bloody Civil War battle and when he wakes up he discovers the spirits of the fallen soldiers. The mirror image of a child playing war and an actual battle shows that the Civil War was not caused in an instant but that America has bred its children for battle by encouraging them to play games where they kill an enemy. Though the story starts with a playful image, it ends with the description of a “startling, soulless, unholy sound, the language of a devil” (46). Bierce is trying to show his reader that though we teach our children that war games are fun, a real war is a destructive, horrible force that can wipe out everything we know in an instant. Bierce feels that by making war into a game, America has brought the Civil War upon itself. This also symbolizes that the Civil War was caused by many factors and that the sectional split had been slowly building for years. A similar image is
shown through Homer’s painting; the game the children are playing seems innocent and fun but is teaching children that hurting each other is okay. The game is designed to knock people to the ground and isolate them from the group. This symbolizes that the destruction that the Civil War caused brought every person down and caused a break in the unity that once was.
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