Caricature and Print Culture in Late-Imperial Russia

In: Experiment
Jeffrey Brooks Professor Emeritus of History, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD USA

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Caricature became entrenched as a common form of social commentary in Russian visual culture in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Four prominent humor magazines: Iskra (Spark, 1859–1873), Budil’nik (Alarm Clock, 1865–1918), Strekoza (Dragonfly, 1875–1908), and Oskolki (Splinters, 1881–1916) promoted caricatures and built success largely on the public’s appetite for them. The editors and staff of these humor magazines made caricature a ready and effective tool of social criticism and helped develop a critical public familiar enough with the form to appreciate it. The rather gentle caricature of the early period and its benign social criticism established a foundation for a harsher partisan form of caricature as political advocacy during the revolution of 1905–1906.

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