The Russian-Turkish War. Sinking Four Turkish Cargo Ships


This print showing the sinking of four Turkish cargo ships is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “After a heavy bombardment of the Turkish port of Zonguldak in the Black Sea, our detachment noticed an enemy unit at sea. It consisted of a few warships and four cargo ships carrying troops and supplies. After sinking the cargo ships by artillery fire and causing some damage to the other vessels that managed to escape, our detachment returned to Sevastopol safely and without loss.” 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: September 11, 2015