Extermination of the German Artillery Battery


This print showing an artillery blast amidst cavalry is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “From November 17 to November 19, along the line of the Masurian Lakes, our troops, having come very close to the artificial barriers installed by the Germans, rained fierce artillery fire upon the enemy in the passages between the lakes. After a series of attacks, they captured some areas, which led to the complete destruction of the enemy batteries. We captured ammunition, a few guns, and German prisoners.” 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