2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
Russian lubok is a graphic type of folk art that arose in the era of Peter the Great. Sheets with bright funny pictures were printed in the hundreds of thousands and were extremely cheap. They never depicted grief or sadness, funny or informative stories with simple understandable images were accompanied by laconic inscriptions and were original comics of the 17th-19th centuries. In each hut, similar pictures hung on the walls, they were very much valued, and ofeny, the distributors of popular prints, were eagerly awaited everywhere.
Origin of the term
At the end of the 17th century, prints from wooden boards were called German or Fryazh amusing sheets by analogy with prints, the technique of which came to Russia from the western lands. The representatives of southern Europe, mainly Italians, have long been called friags in Russia, all other Europeans were called Germans. Later, prints with a more serious content and a realistic image were called frya sheets, andtraditional Russian lubok - the art of folk graphics with simplified, brightly colored graphics and intelligibly capacious images.
There are two suggestions why amusing sheets are called popular prints. Perhaps the first impression boards were made from bast - the lower layer of the bark of a tree, most often linden. Boxes were made from the same material - receptacles for bulk products or household belongings. They were often painted with picturesque patterns with primitive images of people and animals. Over time, bast began to be called boards designed to work on them with a cutter.
Each stage of work on the Russian lubok had its own name and was carried out by different masters.
- In the beginning, the contour drawing was created on paper, and the flagmen applied it with a pencil on the prepared board. This process was called signification.
- Then the carvers set to work. With sharp tools, they made indentations, leaving thin walls along the contour of the picture. This delicate painstaking work required special qualifications. Base boards ready for impressions were sold to the breeder. The first wood engravers and then copper engravers lived in Izmailovo, a village near Moscow.
- The board was smeared with dark paint and with a sheet of cheap gray paper superimposed on it was placed under the press. The thin walls from the board left a black outline drawing, and the places of the cut out depressions kept the paper uncolored. Such sheets were called spacers.
- Paintings with contourprints were taken to the colorists - the village artel workers who were engaged in coloring pictures-prostovki. This work was done by women, often children. Each of them painted up to a thousand sheets a week. Artel workers made paints themselves. Raspberry color was obtained from boiled sandalwood with the addition of alum, blue color was obtained from lapis lazuli, various transparent tones were extracted from processed plants and tree bark. In the 18th century, with the advent of lithography, the profession of colorists almost disappeared.
Due to wear and tear, the boards were often copied, this was called translation. Initially, the board was cut from linden, then they began to use pear and maple.
The appearance of funny pictures
The first printing press was called the Fryazhsky camp and was installed in the Court (Upper) printing house at the end of the 17th century. Then other printers appeared. Boards for printing were cut copper. There is an assumption that professional printers first began to make Russian lubok, installing the simplest machines in their homes. Printing craftsmen lived in the area of modern Stretenki and Lubyanka streets, here, near the church walls, they sold amusing Frya sheets, which immediately began to be in demand. It was in this area that, by the beginning of the 18th century, popular prints acquired their characteristic style. Soon other places of their distribution appeared, such as Vegetable Row, and then Spassky Bridge.
Funny pictures under Peter
Wishing to please the sovereign, draftsmen for amusing sheets came up with funny stories. For example, the battle of Alexander the Great with the Indian king Por, in which the Greek ancient commander was given a clear portrait resemblance to Peter I. Or the plot of a black-and-white print about Ilya of Muromets and the Nightingale the Robber, where the Russian hero corresponded to the image of the sovereign in both appearance and clothes, and a robber in a Swedish military uniform portrayed Charles XII. Some plots of the Russian lubok may have been ordered by Peter I himself, such as, for example, a sheet that reflects the reformist instructions of the sovereign from 1705: a Russian merchant, dressed in European clothes, is preparing to shave his beard.
Printers also received orders from opponents of Peter's reforms, however, the content of seditious luboks was veiled with allegorical images. After the death of the king, a well-known sheet with a scene of the burial of a cat by mice was circulated, which contained many hints that the cat was the late sovereign, and the happy mice were the lands conquered by Peter.
The heyday of lubok in the 18th century
Starting from 1727, after the death of Empress Catherine I, printing production in Russia declined sharply. Most printing houses, including St. Petersburg, closed. And the printers, who were left without work, reoriented themselves to the production of popular prints, using typographic copper boards, which were left in large numbers after the closure of enterprises. Since that time, the heyday of the Russian popular popular print began.
By the middle of the century, lithographic machines appeared in Russia, which made it possible to multiply the number of copies many times, to obtaincolor printing, better and more detailed image. The first factory with 20 machine tools belonged to the Moscow merchants Akhmetievs. The competition among the lubok producers increased, the plots became more and more diverse. Pictures were created for the main consumers - the townspeople, therefore they displayed urban life and life. Peasant themes appeared only in the next century.
Lubok production in the 19th century
Starting from the middle of the century, 13 large lithographic printing houses operated in Moscow, along with the main products, producing popular prints. By the end of the century, I. Sytin's enterprise was considered the most prominent in the field of manufacturing and distributing these products, which annually produced about two million calendars, one and a half million sheets with biblical subjects, 900 thousand pictures with secular subjects. Morozov's lithography annually produced about 1.4 million popular prints, the Golyshev factory - about 300 thousand, the circulation of other industries was smaller. The cheapest sheets were sold for half a kopeck, the most expensive pictures cost 25 kopecks.
Chronicles, oral and handwritten legends, epics served as popular plots of the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, Russian drawn lubok with images of buffoons, jesters, noble life, and court fashion became popular. There were many satirical sheets. In the 1930s and 1940s, the most popular content of popular prints was the image of folk city festivities,festivities, entertainment, fisticuffs, fairs. Some sheets contained several thematic pictures, for example, the lubok "Meeting and seeing off Maslenitsa" consisted of 27 drawings depicting the fun of Muscovites from different parts of the city. Since the second half of the century, redrawings from German and French calendars and almanacs have spread.
From the beginning of the 19th century, literary plots from the works of Goethe, Chateaubriand, Francois Rene, and other writers popular at that time appeared in popular prints. Since the 1820s, the Russian style has come into fashion, which was expressed in print in a rural theme. At the expense of the peasants, the demand for popular prints also increased. Spiritual-religious, military-patriotic themes, portraits of the royal family, illustrations with quotations for fairy tales, songs, fables, sayings remained popular.
Lubok XX - XXI century
In the graphic design of flyers, posters, newspaper illustrations, signs of the beginning of the last century, popular style was often used. This is explained by the fact that pictures remained the most popular type of information products for the semi-literate rural and urban population. The genre was later characterized by art historians as an element of Russian Art Nouveau.
Lubok influenced the formation of political and propaganda posters in the first quarter of the 20th century. At the end of the summer of 1914, the publishing society "Today's Lubok" was organized, whose task was to publish satirical posters and postcards. Apt short texts were written by Vladimir Mayakovsky, who worked on the imagestogether with the artists Kazimir Malevich, Larionov, Chekrygin, Lentulov, Burlyukov and Gorsky. Until the 1930s, popular graphics were often present in advertising posters and designs. For a century, the style was used in Soviet caricature, illustrations for children and satirical caricature.
One cannot call Russian lubok a modern type of fine art that is popular. Such graphics are extremely rarely used for an ironic poster, the design of fairs or thematic exhibitions. Few illustrators and cartoonists work in this direction, but on the Internet their bright witty works on the topic of the day attract the attention of netizens.
Drawing in the style of Russian lubok
In 2016, under this title, the Hobbitek publishing house published a book by Nina Velichko, addressed to everyone who is interested in folk art. The work contains articles of an entertaining and educational nature. Based on the works of old masters, the author teaches the features of popular print, explains how to draw a picture in a frame in stages, depict people, trees, flowers, houses, display stylized letters and other elements. Thanks to the fascinating material, it is not at all difficult to master the technique and properties of popular print graphics in order to create bright entertaining pictures on your own.
In Moscow on Sretenka is a museumRussian lubok and naive art. The foundation of the exposition is the rich collection of the director of this institution, Viktor Penzin. The exposition of popular prints, starting from the 18th century and ending with our days, arouses considerable interest of visitors. It is no coincidence that the museum is located in the area of Pechatnikov Pereulok and Lubyanka, where more than three centuries ago the same printing workers who were at the origins of the history of Russian lubok lived. The style of Fryazh amusing pictures was born here, and sheets for sale were hung on the fence of the local church. Perhaps expositions, books and demonstration of pictures on the Internet will revive interest in the Russian popular print, and it will come back into fashion, as it has happened many times with other types of folk art.
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