‘Death Valley’ – the battle at the village of Mikhailovka


Russian lubok war images are very direct, illustrated news stories. The caption under this image contains information on a bloody fight where the Austrian troops were defeated by the Russians. The picture with the bright red blood spilled in front of it makes the story vivid, but not scary. The movements of the soldiers and officers depicted in the image are symbolic, as hardly anyone could be expected to carry a heavy banner in his left hand while stabbing an enemy with a sabre with his right hand. The enemies in the picture are dying in a theatrical style as if on stage, and moreover, the Austrian general who was reported to have committed suicide is shown doing this in the middle of the battle. It is no surprise that war lubok pictures were produced only from the beginning of the war until the middle of 1915: when the situation at the front became critical for the Russians and enemies could not be ridiculed anymore, the popularity of such pictures and revenues from selling them dropped dramatically. At the same time, the general economic situation in the country worsened, all resources became scarce, deficiencies grew and it turned out to be impossible to sustain the same level of printing.

Full title:
‘Death Valley’ – the battle at the village of Mikhailovka
1914 - 1915
Poster / Illustration
Held by:
British Library

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