Monday, July 21, 2008

Lubok, Russian Engravings/ Etchings/ Woodcuts
Satirical scene showing lenders as small devils.

""Yeruslan Lazarevich Kills the Sea Monster.

Yeruslan Lazarevich was riding along when he was attacked by the three-headed Monster Dragon King of the Sea. A terrible battle began between Yeruslan and the Dragon King and the strong and mighty hero cut off two of the monster's heads with his Damascene sword. The Dragon King begged Yeruslan to spare his life but the hero's heart flared up and the last head of the monster fell at the feet of his horse Whirlwind."

"The Horrifying and Terrifying Parable from the Mirror

A certain maiden concealed her foul sin of fornication from her spiritual father during confession and died with this sin. Her spiritual father began to pray to God and suddenly saw her sitting on a fiery dragon. On her eyes were huge toads, in her ears were arrows, great fire was burning in her mouth, vipers were sucking on her nipples, and the hounds of the inferno were biting her hands. And her spiritual father asked her: "Is it you, tell me?" And she told him: "It is I, your damned spiritual daughter. Do you see, father, these toads on my eyes are for shameless looking, the arrows in my ears for listening to devil's songs, the fire coming from my mouth for kissing, vipers sucking my nipples for adultery, the dogs biting my hands for embracing lovers. And what I am sitting on is the sin of fornication which I hid from you during my confession." And then she became invisible. Her spiritual father was terrified and told everybody about his horrifying vision."

"The forest monster caught in the spring.

The figure of the monster found in Spain by the soldiers wandering through the forest during the hunt and presented by them to the viceroy in Nice, who put it on a galliot loaded with silver and sailing to Spain, which arrived there without problems not long ago. And this monster is now being sent by galliot to Madrid and all the people in the city of Salamanca are admiring it, and the Spanish king ordered it to be baptized and converted to the Catholic faith. In the year 1721." - quote and image source.

Russian lubok describing a strange aquatic humanoid caught in Spain. Anonymous folk artist, 1739

"A copy [of the news] from the Spanish town of Vigo from the 6th of April. The fishermen of the village of Fustin (Enfesta?) caught a sea monster or the so-called water man and with great difficulty dragged him by force in the net ashore. This amazing and rarely seen monstrum or sea wonder is from head to foot about 6 feet tall. Its head resembles a stake and is so smooth that it does not have even one hair on the top, only at the bottom it has a beard with long strands. The skin on its head and on the whole body is black and in some places covered with thin hair. The neck of this water old man is extremely long and the body unusually long and thick but in many respects it resembles the human body. The forearms and arms are very short, the palms are quite short, while the fingers are very long and up to the first joint, like a goose's feet, they are grown together and from there they go like human fingers. Its extraordinarily long nails resemble animals' and even though this monstrosity has low hanging breasts, it is, by all indications, of masculine gender. Its loins are short and grown together to the knees, and the shins are not very long either, but they are separated. Even though its feet are quite similar to human, the large toes hang quite close to each other like duck's feet. On its heels it has fish's scales, and on the skin of its back at the very bottom a bone has grown. A fin sticking out from it is just like a woman's fan, about 12 inches long, and when it opens it reaches even more than 12 inches. This was excerpted from the printed St. Petersburg News, received on the 20th of May of this, 1739, year, and the above news were reported in the No. 41." - quote and image source.

"The lubki (sing. lubok), simple printed pictures colored by hand and often called broadsides, popular prints, folk prints, folk etchings, or folk engravings, are a vivid and fascinating page in the history of Russian culture. Folk prints were known in many other countries (in the Far East as early as the eighth century and in Western Europe from the fifteenth); in Russia they appeared in the middle of the seventeenth century and survived until the beginning of the twentieth.

The prints classified as informative and news-oriented introduced the public to unusual and amusing freaks, monsters, and natural phenomena in Russia and abroad; later, the prints described real historical events and portraits of important military leaders." - Read more about and see more of this Russian form of printed illustrations at the Lubok website.

And a few more above found while browsing the giant collection of Russian engravings at the NYPL online gallery.

Russian Monster From Inferno - Anonymous folk artist, XIXth century. Found in the Lubok collection at Wikimedia.

1 comment:

mister M said...

vraiment ravi de lire votre blog, je vous place dans mes liens, à trés bientôt