The Battle with the Germans Near Lipsko


This print showing a battle between Germans and Russians near Lipsko, Poland is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “While our valiant troops were destroying the Austro-German army under [General Moritz von] Auffenberg and driving it away from the city of Lublin beyond the San River, a German unit consisting of three divisions rushed to the rescue in the direction of Kielce toward the left bank of the Vistula River. Met by our troops on the Izit River near Lipsko, the Germans suffered a severe defeat. One German division was completely destroyed and lost almost half of its artillery. Not only were the Germans unable to cover the retreating troops of General Auffenberg, but they were forced to move far to the west.” 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: July 23, 2015