terça-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2017

The pact of Giovanni Bragolin

Giovanni Bragolin was in fact called Bruno Amadio and was an Italian painter who became famous in the 1970s and 1980s for his paintings of children crying. Oh, you must have seen one, if not many of this paintings, until not so innovative in techniques but in boldness, which triggered the imagination of many people around the globe.

What makes his life story strange is that his paintings are famous and are scattered around the world in important places. And even so, it's very, very difficult to even get some bibliographic information from him. It is popular knowledge that he was born in Venice in 1911 and died in 1981. He studied art at a local school and devoted himself to the classical style. Other than that the rest of his history are accounts of his controversial career and linked to Satanism (with great portions of sensationalism).

The paintings named Gypsy Boys featured a wide variety of children crying, looking at the viewer, or even at the artist, with melancholy expressions and a face covered with tears. Apparently there are no Bradolin connections to these children. The paintings come up walking the world because Giovani used to paint and sell them to tourists in Venice.

In total there were twenty-seven paintings that were scattered all over the place, many of them having been imitated and reproduced all over the world. The original ones are scattered in museums in Europe, and a few in the hands of the lucky ones who understood the fortune they had in hand and kept it safe as their own lives.

The Myth

There is a myth that the painter made so much success (some say even sudden) because Bragolin having made a pact with the Devil, because for such he did not have the talent to leverage so much his sales. It was during this time that he began to use the pseudonym of Giovanni Bragolin and began to portray in his paintings the sad children that so many became fans. He stopped painting happiness.

It was how he portrayed his moments, in melancholy paintings, which he begged to the buyers to destroy it for believing that it would bring disgrace upon their possessors and their families. He confesses at this point that indeed the children were dead when they posed to the artist, and that was why the their pupils were dilated. Children who had disappeared, kidnapped from their families to be handed over to the Devil himself.

Another report tells of children in a Spanish orphanage, which would have been portrayed after the war, when Giovanni had fled to there. The orphanage was burned down. He used them only as inspiration, and perhaps he did not even have direct contact with them. But the origin of the fire is unknown.

A tabloid newspaper of the 1970s in England would have spread the rumor responsible for the severity of the terrifying legends that began to spread among admirers (and superstitious) of art. The Sun had confirmed in one of its editions what it was just the report of a local fireman. Apparently he removed intact a picture from inside the wreckage of a burning building. The newspaper, of course, confirmed the story. In fact it did more. It claimed that the paintings were inspired by Satan and that Giovanni had made a pact to have prosperity, and that the paintings now belonged to the Devil himself, and so did not burn.

This was the trigger to unleash collective hysteria. In the same week the same newspaper received several letters with reports of people who owned the painting and claimed to have suffered the most strange and unexpected tragedies after having acquired the painting. Groups of people gathered to burn the paintings in the hope that evil would disappear. Of course everything is just rumor and sensationalism (this includes this myth!).

The pictures themselves never scared me, but I really am intrigued by the idea that he had painted so many of the same subject and no one knows a little about what motivated him to do so. It was also somewhat disheartening (but inspiring) that it was very difficult to find references about the painter. Even so, the fire at the orphanage gave me a great hook for an adventure.

Perhaps a creature is imprisoning the spirit of children in paintings, so that it can feed of them later. It's a good theme for games like World of Darkness, Chronicles of Darkness, Call of Cthulhu, Little Fears, etc.

What do you think of Giovanni Bragolin's paintings?

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