Russia's War with the Germans. The Battle of the Vistula River


This print showing the Battle of the Vistula River (in present-day Poland) between Russian and German forces is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “During a night-time German offensive on Warsaw, intense fighting broke out near Blonie. Fire from artillery shells and the burning of houses set on fire by the Germans lit the night. Shrapnel burst in the air in different directions, the earth was shaking from the thundering of weapons, and guns fired unceasingly. Despite the lethal fire, Russian troops began fighting with bayonets; the Germans could not withstand the attack and fled, leaving their dead and wounded on the battlefield.” 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.

Date Created

Publication Information

A. V. Krylov & C. Printing and Lithographic Firm, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Война России с немцами. Битва у Вислы

Type of Item

Last updated: April 3, 2015