The artworks in the series all carry the prominent signature of a Giovanni Bragolin. The Sun claimed the original painting was created ‘by an Italian artist.’ As a matter of fact, Giovanni Bragolin was a pseudonym adopted by a Spanish painter, Bruno Amadio. He is also known as Franchot Seville. However, for quite some time, nobody could locate any information about the man. According to the rumors, he painted images of hundreds of crying children, most of them street urchins, who were either from Italy or Spain.
In 2000, book of creepy stories called Haunted Liverpool was published by Tom Slemen. It claimed that, in 1995, a “well respected” school teacher called George Mallory discovered that the painter was actually a mysterious figure named Franchot Seville.Mallory was able to find the artist who had painted the original, an old Spanish portrait artist named Franchot Seville, who lives in Madrid.
According to journalist Dr. David Clark, Giovanni Bragolin and Franchot Seville seem to have been one of a few pseudonyms for Spanish painter Bruno Amadio. He also cannot find any evidence that this George Mallory ever existed. Attempts to trace Amadio were unsuccessful as art historians reported that he did not seem to have a coherent biography.
He was an academically trained painter, working in post-war Venice as painter and restorer. He released at least 65 paintings under the pseudonym Bragolin, reproductions of which were sold worldwide. In the 1970s he was found to be alive and well-to-do and still painting in Padua. He was reported to have died in Padua on September 22, 1981.
Other Crying Boys
To make thingmore complicated, other pictures of crying children that were featured in the fires, were not actually painted by Giovanni Bragolin. Some of them were part of a series of studies called ‘Childhood’, and were painted by a Scottish artist named Anna Zinkeisen. The same artist died in 1976. The only similar thing about these paintings was they were all cheap, mass produced prints that were sold in massive numbers by English department stores during the 60s and 70s.