The Great War. A Skirmish between the Cossacks and the Austrians during the Capture of Galich


This print showing a scene of close combat involving infantry, cavalry, and explosions during the capture of Galich (in present-day Ukraine), is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “From the headquarters of the Commander in Chief. From August 4 to 21, our left flank covered 220 versts, while on August 7 it was engaged in a continuous battle with the enemy. The main forces of the enemy established a strong position at Kamenka-Galich, where they were completely destroyed on August 18 and 19. In the lower reaches of the Hnyla Lipa alone, where the location of the enemy was disrupted on August 18, the enemy lost around 20,000 in dead and wounded.” 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