When things just get too much; people and things grinding you down, having a good cry is a cathartic release of all that emotion.
Am currently reading a book called ‘Pictures and Tears’ by James Elkins and he explores the way in which art can move you to tears for all sorts of reasons. Having been there, it has been interesting in finding out just how common it is to be moved in such a way. Oftentimes, it is a reaction to something else in your life and the artwork either heightens the feelings of grief, or alleviates the depths of misery.
In chapter 5, Ekins uses this quotation from Dante’s Inferno:
We passed still farther onward, where the ice
Another people ruggedly enswathes,
Not downward turned, but all of them reversed.
Weeping itself there does not let them weep,
And grief that ﬁnds a barrier in the eyes
Turns itself inward to increase the anguish
Because the earliest tears a cluster form,
And, in the manner of a crystal visor,
Fill all the cup beneath the eyebrow full
I think this is such a beautiful description of crying and, instead of looking for paintings that would/could/should make one cry, what it actually did was make me think about all the paintings that have tears in them. So, in no particular order, here’s a few: