June 9, 2015

The Defeat of the Germans on the River Bzura

This print showing the defeat of Germans at the river Bzura is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “In three previous battles, the defeated German army was unable to conduct a full and broad offensive against our invincible army along the front line at ​​the river Bzura. The Germans were limited to separate attacks, and as a result, their hordes remained on the left bank of the Bzura. The sacrifices made by the Germans on the Bzura are enormous, but on some days, thousands of fresh corpses of the bloody Kaiser's hordes flood the banks of this now historic river. At first our troops allowed the Germans to cross the river, but then with a swift attack, defeated the squad that had just crossed. Several times whole German regiments tried to cross the river, but each time they were pushed back into the water while a significant number of prisoners were taken on our side of the river. After these attempts the Germans retreated, and our troops began the offensive with indestructible force. We have already made important progress on the entire front.” 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.

The Russian-Turkish War. The Defeat of the Turkish Army at Sarikamish

This print showing an explosion amidst the Turkish army at Sarikamish is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Our glorious Caucasian troops defeated two Turkish corps at Sarikamish. The Ninth Turkish corps is destroyed. The commander of the corps, Iskhan Pasha, chiefs of the 17th, 28th, and 29th divisions, their staff, and more than 100 officers were taken prisoner. The Turks' losses in dead and wounded are enormous.” 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.

The Capture of Yaroslav

This print showing a vast battle scene and the capture of Yaroslav (present-day Jarosław, Poland) is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Several battles in early September ended with a capture of the Sandomierz-Radomyśl Wielki area. Here, the San River merges with the Vistula River. The enemy wanted to escape from pursuit behind the San River and so assumed a heavily fortified position at Przheshov. A terrible battle followed. On September 3, our troops captured bridgeheads and crossings, crossed the bridge over the San, and reached Yaroslav and Przemyśl. Our heavy artillery stopped at Yaroslav and started shelling the city. The bombardment lasted for two days, and on September 5, Yaroslav burned. However, the enemy continued to fight back. The battle was so intense and continuous that the dead were not removed for four days. On September 6, we captured five fortifications on the right bank of the San River near Yaroslav. The next morning, the battle continued fiercely at all fortifications. The enemy fired at us from trenches and armored vehicles, but our artillery forced them out of the trenches and they retreated. In the evening of September 8, we captured Yaroslav, and on the morning of September 9, our troops entered the city.” 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.

A Heroic Fight of the Cossack Kuzma Kryuchkov with 11 Germans

This print showing a lone cavalryman inflicting mortal wounds on the enemy is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “All of Russia knows about the feat of Kuzma Kryuchkov, a Don Cossack. He valiantly upheld the military glory of Russian Cossacks, who instill fear in the enemies of Russia. A squad of six Cossacks, including Kryuchkov, was sent scouting from Kolvari near the Prussian border. They stumbled upon a detachment of Prussian cavalrymen consisting of 27 men. Two Cossacks immediately set off with a message to their superiors. The remaining four engaged in a fight with the enemy, made them retreat, and chased them for 12 miles. Kryuchkov faced 11 Germans alone, and a fierce battle broke out. The Germans stabbed him with their lances, and he fought first with his rifle. When his rifle was knocked from his hands, he began to chop the enemy with his saber. He then snatched and used a German lance. This Cossack hero received 16 wounds, but came out the winner of the fight, having killed 11 Germans by himself. For his outstanding bravery Kryuchkov was the first person to be awarded the Saint George's Cross during this war.” 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.

Russian Ships Shot down the German Cruiser "Magdeburg"

This print showing a ship in flames at sea is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “On the night of August 13, the German cruiser Magdeburg got stranded in dense fog in the shallow water of the Gulf of Finland. Attempts to move away from the shoal were unsuccessful despite assistance from German destroyers that arrived at the accident site. By morning, the fog lifted, and two of our cruisers opened fire on the Magdeburg. The Magdeburg fired back, but soon was forced to cease fire. Pipes were destroyed on the German cruiser during the battle and an explosion on the bow destroyed the ship as far as the front bridge. Only the commander, two officers, and 40 sailors were captured by us and survived. The other officers and the entire crew died.” 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.

A Battle at Gorodok

This print showing a battle with cavalry at Gorodok (present-day Horodok, Ukraine) is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains, in the words of an August 6 report from the General Staff at Saint Petersburg: “At noon on August 4, an Austrian division approached the line at Gorodok-Kuzmin. Our cavalrymen initiated a fight with the enemy at Gorodok, which lasted for five hours. Our fire and cavalry attacks inflicted losses on the enemy. The whole field is covered with the enemy corpses, while our losses are insignificant. Around 7:00 p.m. that same day the damaged Austrian division retreated, pursued by our cavalry.” 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.