The Russian-Turkish War. The Defeat of the Turks at Sarikamish


This print showing the defeat of the Turks by the Russians at a battle at Sarikamish on the Russian-Turkish border is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “During the Battle of Sarikamish, despite the severe cold and a blizzard, our gallant troops chased the Turks out from their strong positions with amazing tenacity. When the Turkish troops were defeated and began to retreat, leaving their weapons and the wounded behind, our brave soldiers vigorously pursued them. Оne Turkish corps was captured in its entirety and the two remaining corps suffered enormous losses. Thus ended a bold attack by a Turkish army that far exceeded in number our troops.” Lubok is a Russian word for popular prints created from woodcuts, engravings, etchings, or later, by using lithography. The prints were often characterized by simple, colorful graphics depicting a narrative, and could also include text. Lubok gained popularity in Russia beginning in the late 17th century. The prints, which often depicted narratives from a historical event, literature, or a religious tale, were used to make such stories accessible to illiterate people. These expressive prints had a wide range in tone, from humorous to instructive to sharp political and social commentary. The images were clear and easy to understand, and some of the pictures were serialized, predecessors of the modern comic strip. Prints could be reproduced inexpensively, and were thus a way for the masses to display art at home. Initially, this artistic style was not taken seriously by the upper classes, but by the end of the 19th century, lubok was so well-regarded that it inspired professional artists. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

Last updated: April 3, 2015