The Austrians Cursed Loudly near the Carpathian Mountains
This World War I propaganda poster, created by Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893–1930), depicts Austrian soldiers retreating from the 1914 Russian invasion of Galicia, near the Carpathian Mountains. The terrified Austrians are pursued by the victorious Russian cavalry. With limited colors and basic contour drawing the artist achieves a simple and comical picture. The strength of the Russians is emphasized by a long file of mounted soldiers, their commander boldly charging the enemy and brandishing his saber. In the early stages of the war, a number of Russian avant-garde artists, including Mayakovsky, Aristarkh Lentulov, and Kazimir Malevich, formed the group Segodnyashnii Lubok (Today’s lubok), which produced satirical anti-German and anti-Austrian posters and postcards to support the Russian war effort. The name originated from the traditional Russian folk prints, lubok, which combined simple pictures and narratives from popular tales. These artists adapted the style of lubok to their posters, making them readily accessible to the masses and effective as a way of strengthening national morale. Mayakovsky’s verse below the picture reads: “The Austrians cursed loudly near the Carpathian Mountains. They were chased across all of Galicia, a gang with stupid faces.” Mayakovsky was born in Georgia, but, after his father’s death in 1906, moved with his family to Moscow where he became active in left-wing politics. He embraced the revolution not only for the economic and social changes it would bring, but as a gateway to freedom of art and individual expression. After the revolution, he wrote scripts for films and designed propaganda posters for the Russian Telegraph Agency (ROSTA). Increasingly disillusioned with the Soviet Union under the dictator Josef Stalin, he committed suicide on April 14, 1930.
Segodnyashnii Lubok, Moscow
Title in Original Language
Австрияки у Карпат Поднимали благой мат
Type of Item
1 chromolithographic print
Last updated: February 2, 2015