Russian Easter Postcards of the Early  20th Century

Russian Easter Postcards of the Early 20th Century


Alina Yartseva

World War I Postcards

Easter greetings to dear heroes

«And on this bright joyous day of Easter, when the sky merges with the earth, and the earth becomes heaven, our thoughts, our hearts go to the places where our brothers, our children give up their lifes for the Orthodox faith, for tsar and fatherland, where lots and lots of them were buried in the earth, kept the Holy commandment of love for their neighbor… And the heart yearns to exclaime to them, to both the men alive, and dead: brothers-warriors, Orthodox warriors of Christ! Christ is Risen!»
Archimandrite Nikon (Rozhdestvensky). «Den' rajskoj radosti [Day of Heavenly Joy]» («Pravoslavie and grjadushhie sud'by Rossii [Orthodoxy and the Future Fate of Russia]»)

After 1914, Easter card illustrators reflected the new topics related to the First World War. New publishing entertainments appeared. For instance, the picture postcard «Easter greetings to dear heroes» was produced for the Committee of the Depot of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia by Pyotr Pershin, an officer who studied at the Academy of Arts, and after the beginning of the war, was appointed painter of battle scenes at the Headquarters of the Supreme Commander.

Easter Night at the Forefront
Christ is risen!

Some cards show soldiers celebrating the feast in frontline environments. The kiss of peace of two Slavic warriors was depicted on a postcard published by Natalia Butkovskaya in Petrograd in 1915. The postcard «Easter Night at the Forefront…» (the author marked it with his monogram «N. G.») was issued in series of the Petrograd Partnership Zvezda. There is known a single issue of the magazine «Peace and War» published by the same partnership in September 1914. In it, the editorial board invited photographers and artists to send photos and drawings of local events related to the current Patriotic War. Perhaps they formed the basis for the series «A Photograph of an Officer - Member of the Great Liberation War of 1914/5» and «The Series of Pictures and Paintings of the Great Liberation War 1914/5» that continued it.

The spirit of the wartime is significantly apparent in a festive postcard published by the Partnership of I. Kushneryov and Kо. The All-Russian Union of Cities, which name is printed on it, was established in August 1914 and helped the wounded and refugees.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen
Christ is risen!

The St. Nicholas Community of the Russian Society of the Red Cross issued a card depicting an epic fantasy: it shows a woman in a Russian folk costume bringing Easter meals to an epical hero sitting on horseback. If we take into account that this publication is released in 1915 and 1916, then it will have an additional shade of meaning: it is not so much a picture of the distant past as an allegory of current events.

Among the great number of greeting postcards created by Sergei Ploshinsky for the Petrograd publishing house «Salon» are cards with ethnographic, historical and «actual» pictures: in the latter case, heroes are wearing a military uniform.


Christ is risen!
Christ is risen!

The wounded, nurses are portrayed on wartime Easter cards of Alexander Apsit (1880-1944), published in the Moscow establishment «Graphic Art».

Other cards in this series are remarkable not only for the strange transformations of the globe into an Easter egg. Some of them do not speak about the war but about the expected "dawn of a new life" which is associated, apparently, with the future social change. Their pictorial language is reminiscent of Alexander Apsit as one of the pioneers of the Soviet poster.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen! Christ is risen! Christ is risen!

Peter Pershin (1877-1956)
Easter greetings to dear heroes : postcards. - [Petrograd] : published by the Committee of the Depot of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, [1915]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 14х9,1 cm
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Easter Night at the Forefront. - Christ is risen! : postcards. - [Petrograd] : Magazine «Peace and War». Partnership "Zvezda", [between 1915 and 1917]. - 1 sheet : zincograph ; 9х14 cm. - (Series of pictures and paintings of the great liberation war 1914/5 ; № 37)
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Christ is risen! : open letter. - [Petrograd : published by Natalia Butkovskaya, 1915]. - 1 sheet : chromolithograph ; 14,2х9,2 cm
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Christ is risen! : All-Russian Union of Cities : postcards / topic: N. Ivanov. - Moscow : Partnership of I. Kushneryov and Kо, [between 1915 and 1917]. - 1 sheet (2 изобр.) : autotype ; 8,6х14 cm
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Christ is risen! : postcards. - Moscow : publisher of the St. Nicholas Community of the Russian Society of the Red Cross, [1915 or 1916] (Typolithography "Obshchee Delo" of G. Lehman). - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 13,3х9 cm
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Sergei Ploshinsky
[Christ is risen] : postcards. - Petrograd : publishing house «Salon», [between 1915 and 1917]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 14,1х9,1 cm
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Alexander Apsit (1880-1944)
Christ is risen! [Graphic material] : "Our sufferings will be drowned in the mercy that will fill the whole world. And our life will grow peaceful, tender, sweet as a caress"… (Anton Chekhov) : postcards. - Moscow : (Graphic Art), [1915 or 1916]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 14,5х9,6 cm
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Alexander Apsit (1880-1944)
Christ is risen! : "Three Sisters". 'We will be gone forever, but our sufferings will turn into joy for those who will live after us, happiness and peace will reign on earth'. (Anton Chekhov) : postcards. - Moscow : (Graphic Art), [1915 or 1916]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 9,1х14,2 cm
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Gerard R. Ledger

Alexander Apsit (1880-1944)
Christ is risen! : postcards. - Moscow : (Graphic Art), [1915 or 1916]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 14,3х8,8 cm
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Alexander Apsit (1880-1944)
Christ is risen! : postcards. - Moscow : (Graphic Art), [1915 or 1916]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 14,2х9,9 cm
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Alexander Apsit (1880-1944)
Christ is risen! : 'Let the path is difficult, but people of high spirits may reach the mountain top, where the rays of sunlight are shining, where the bright dawn is breaking, the dawn of a new life!' : postcards. - Moscow : (Graphic Art), [1915 or 1916]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 14,5х10,1 cm
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Alexander Apsit (1880-1944)
Christ is risen! : "We shall hear the angels, we shall see the whole sky all diamonds, we shall see how all earthly evil, all our sufferings, are drowned in the mercy that will fill the whole world.". (Anton Chekhov) : postcards. - Moscow : (Graphic Art), [1915 or 1916]. - 1 sheet : colour autotype ; 14,2х10 cm
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