А Battle of Ivangorod


This print showing a battle between Germans and Russians at Ivangorod (present-day Deblin, Poland) is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “The enemy concentrated enormous forces in the vicinity of Ivangorod. For more than a week, our troops continued fierce attacks on the Germans, who outnumbered us. On October 2 we transported the weapons that had been mounted against the Germans’ right wing to the left bank of the Vistula River. At the same time, a strong flank of our troops bypassed the Germans from the left flank. On October 3 a decisive battle began, which immediately changed the situation in our favor. Artillery fire from our fortified positions caused the final disorientation among the enemy ranks. A heavy barrage on three sides of the Germans led to a real panic in their ranks. The enemy artillery was soon stopped, unable to compete with the guns from our forts. Around noon our infantry began to attack. Strikes were directed simultaneously at the front and both flanks of the enemy position. In just half an hour, the battle line moved six versts. Unable to mount a defense, the Germans fled, leaving behind many artillery pieces, ammunition, equipment, and wagons.” This picture, like many others in the collection, was printed in the Moscow printing house of Ivan Sytin (1851–1934). By the 1880s, Sytin was the most popular and successful publisher of lubok pictures in Russia. He also published cheap popular books for workers and peasants, textbooks, and literature for children. The quality of this print is much better than many images from other printing houses—more colors and shades are neatly matched and more small details are available for the viewer. 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. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

Last updated: July 23, 2015