The Austrians Surrendered Lvov to the Russians, Like Rabbits Defeated by Lions


This World War I propaganda poster, created by Aristarkh Lentulov (1882–1943), depicts Austrian soldiers defeated by the Russian army in September 1914 fleeing from the city of Lvov (present-day L’viv, Ukraine). The Russian horsemen, long spears raised, charge the enemy as the Austrians panic and run away. Lvov is depicted in the center of the picture with simple geometrical shapes and strong colors. In the early stages of the war, a number of Russian avant-garde artists, including Lentulov, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Kazimir Malevich, formed the group Segodnyashnii Lubok (Today’s lubok), which produced satirical anti-German and anti-Austrian posters and postcards to support the Russian war effort. The name originated from the traditional Russian folk prints, lubok, which combined simple pictures and narratives from popular tales. These artists adapted the style of lubok to their posters, making them readily accessible to the masses and effective as a way of strengthening national morale. Lvov, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, was a strategic target in the war. The rhymes under the picture were written by Mayakovsky and read: “The Austrians surrendered Lvov to the Russians, like rabbits defeated by lions! Like a pack of crawfish they will retreat to far away, beyond Krakow!” Lentulov’s posters, including this one, reflect his interest in lubok, the old Russian architecture, and traditions of icon painting. He studied art in Russia and France, and between 1910 and 1920 he was influenced by cubism and futurism, although his paintings had a distinctive national character.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Segodnyashnii Lubok, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Сдал австриец русским Львов, Где им зайцам против львов

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 chromolithographic print

Last updated: April 1, 2015