Certain portraits have eyes that seem to follow you around the room, but thankfully, that's usually the limit of their creepy behaviour; there aren’t many that will take the trouble to leave their frames...
For a long time (possibly since watching Ghostbusters 2!) I’ve been fascinated by the idea of paintings that take on a life of their own. Just to be clear, I am very sceptical about the idea that a painting could actually be cursed or haunted, but it’s a fascinating idea and makes for some great stories and urban legends.
“The Hands Resist him”
image from www.surfingtheapocalypse.com
This painting was listed on eBay in 2000 with a description that claimed that the two figures would move about during the night, and that they would sometimes even leave the painting. Included with the listing were photographs that apparently depicted an incident in which the female doll figure had held a gun to the figure of the young boy. (If you look closely at the painting you can see that the ‘gun’ could be a combination of the window frame behind the doll and the small object she is holding- a dry cell battery and a tangle of wires according to the artist)
News of the ‘haunted’ painting spread quickly around the Internet and there were reports of people fainting or becoming ill, and children screaming upon viewing it. I can understand why children would find the painting scary, it’s exactly the kind of thing I would have been terrified of a child. There is something very unsettling about those dark hollow eyes...
The artist Bill Stoneham, later added his own contribution, stating on his website that “Both the owner of the Gallery where 'Hands' was displayed and the Los Angeles Times art critic who reviewed my show were dead within a year of the show.”
Sources & further reading
“The crying boy”
image from www.cryingboyfanclub.nl
This legend isn’t actually about a single painting but a mass-produced print of a painting by Spanish painter Bruno Amadio (also known as Giovanni Bragolin). There are several versions, all depicting a tearful child and all apparently cursed.
In 1985 the Sun newspaper reported that a fireman from Rotherham had claimed there had been several instances of house fires where the crying boy print was left undamaged despite everything around it having been completely destroyed.
You can read the story here: http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/1308/the_curse_of_the_crying_boy.html
“The Anguished Man”
I'm not quite sure what to say about this, apart from I wouldn't have this painting in my house... http://www.perception9.com/ghosts-and-hauntings/ghost-experience.php?article=A%20Haunted%20Painting&item=00000180