The Crying Girl is a pop art painting by Roy Lichtenstein first painted in 1963 with the original version a lithograph on lightweight, off-white wove paper, measured 16 by 24 inches, the second version was painted a year later in 1964 and was porcelain enamel on steel measuring 46 by 46 inches.
Roy Lichtenstein was one of the greatest pop art artists and many of his images have obtained iconic status. Even the comic style word bubbles that he used have spawned thousands of imitators in the form of pop art words.
Lichtenstein drew inspiration from a popular comic strip at the time called “Secret Hearts” the image that he is said to have based the Crying Girl on is from Secret Hearts #88, “Escape from Loneliness”, see image below:
A lot of his techniques used to create both images were borrowed from the printing industry and used a combination of bright colors and very sharp, dark thick lines.
He also employed the use of Ben-day dots which was another technique from the comic world. Ben-day dots were a money saving technique were dots of colored ink were printed in a uniform manner across a the page instead of printing the full surface area.
It relies on the human brain ‘seeing’ the dots as one mass of color and used considerably less ink and thus saved money in printing costs.
By using such processes Lichtenstein bridged the gap between commercial art and fine art.
Techniques and inspiration aside there is a mush deeper meaning behind both of the Crying Girl paintings.
At a time when women were struggling for gender equality Lichtenstein used the imagery as a parody of the much cliched melodramatic woman that dominated the media and how women were portrayed in much of society.
It was still firmly a mans world and women were seen as helpless, overly emotional and image-obsessed which Lichtenstein satirized so well.
Crying Girl Pop Art
Moving on from Lichtenstein’s original works ‘crying girl pop art‘ has had countless variations and reproduced down through the years and has become quite popular as wall art, coffee mugs, t-shirts, and various other printed works.
In the age of digital art recreating these types of images is relatively simple and software has allowed such techniques as Ben-day dots to be accessible at the click of a button on almost any modern image editing program.