The Russian-Turkish War. The Capture оf Bayazid


This print showing the capture of the fortress of Bayazid (located in what was then Turkish Armenia) is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Our gallant Caucasian army, advancing on the fortress of Bayazid in order to capture it, attacked the heavily fortified Turkish positions at Bazyrgan and, having destroyed them, put the Turks to flight. As they fled, the enemy left behind their weapons and dispersed into the villages. On October 21, our troops triumphantly entered Bayazid. This unprecedented 80-verst crossing over the rugged mountain roads, made by our gallant troops in 30 hours, is the only such crossing in history in terms of speed and force.” 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