the Invention of the printing press gave man the ability to tell stories quickly and easily. Starting with illustrating the Bible in seventeenth and eighteenth century, painters increasingly began to create a series of drawings that reveal not only religious but also everyday scenes.

the nineteenth century spawned a new genre, combining pictures and minimal text — a comic book, so named because the first examples were humorous content (comic translated to English — “funny”). About how this genre was trying to develop in pre-revolutionary Russia it is the most powerful publisher, tell the exhibits of the Moscow Museum-apartment of I. D. Sytin.

Joint material and the Agency “Moscow”.

Ivan Dmitrievich Sytin, one of the foremost publishers of his time, not lost popularity in Soviet times, was aptly nicknamed by his contemporaries Napoleon of the book trade. Starting your way up a errand boy from vendor prints, he quickly managed to open their own business. A good marriage gave me the opportunity to buy the first printing press. In the history of Russian printing, he came in as publisher of the millions available to people in the books, and even products for a variety of readers: luxurious multi-volume works, encyclopedias, calendars, textbooks, Newspapers and magazines.

From the competition Sytin is different from willingness to take a risk and do what no other person had. At the dawn of his career he became famous due to the fact that began to make splints with the lives of the saints in color. When came the next Russian-Turkish war, the enterprising printer was smart enough to put on stream production of maps of the theater of war, in fact the first examples of infographics called “readers of Newspapers”. The papers of the imperfection of the equipment could not quickly printing applications such as printing Sytin every morning gave new sheets with the disposition of the troops.

By this time is very successful experiment Sytin in an attempt to offer the public the comics in a time when words did not know this is not just an ordinary Russian reader, but also the dictionary Brockhaus and Efron. This idea he proposed the artist Mikeshin, which Sytin met in the late 1870s.

a masterpiece of the sculptor Mikhail Osipovich Mikeshin (1835-1896) — the monument “Millennium of Russia”, established in Veliky Novgorod in 1862. The project of the monument Mikeshin worked together with the sculptor Ivan Schroeder and architect Viktor Hartmann, but remained in the history of its principal author. The monument, by the way, immortalized in bill advantage of five rubles, and put into circulation in 1998.

a Native of Smolensk province, Mikeshin took his first drawing lessons from a local painter. At the age of 16 was accepted into the class of battle of the Imperial capital Academy��AI of fine arts, where from the first steps began to make progress. At the end of the initial year of study his painting “Leib-hussars at the waterhole” bought after the academic exhibition of Nicholas I (now the picture is stored in the Tretyakov gallery), and a poor provincial was invited to give drawing lessons to members of the Royal family. The young artist also included in the retinue of Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, who traveled to the outskirts of the Empire — Poland, Ukraine, Crimea, Caucasus, Transcaucasia. From his Mikeshin came back with a lot of travel sketches.

Over the years of training in St. Petersburg, he has collected all the possible set of awards Academy, from which he graduated in 1858. Along with the title of the class artist, he received a gold medal for painting on the theme of the Thirty years war “Entry of count Tilly in Magdeburg in 1631,” and the right to a six-year trip abroad at public expense for improving skills.

However, Mikeshin, who, despite familiarity with the Imperial family, barely making ends meet, its right is not used. He was fascinated by the idea of creating a “people’s monument to the Millennium of the Russian state”, the competition for which was announced in the spring of 1859.

the installation of the monument was timed to the vocation of the Rus Vikings, which occurred, according to the chronicle, in 862. The monument was set in place of the reign of Rurik in Novgorod as a symbol of the ideological triad “Orthodoxy, autocracy, nationality”.

the Date for the celebration, September 8, was chosen because on this day we had the feast of the Nativity, the anniversary of the Kulikovo battle and the birthday of the heir to the throne of Grand Duke Nicholas Alexandrovich. In 1862 we had another round date — the 150th anniversary of the battle of Borodino, but Alexander II was considered desitively anniversary of the Russian statehood more important milestones.

the Pompous opening of the monument in the Novgorod Kremlin with the participation of members of the Romanov dynasty became the pinnacle of the efforts of government to consolidate mnogoserijnogo society, which after the abolition of serfdom was far from unity.

the Contest was supervised by Alexander II. The winner of the competition, which was anonymously submitted 53 projects sensational was the work of former students. He proposed a monument in the form of a giant balloon-powers with figures of the outstanding figures of national history. After winning Mikeshin had to retrain from painters to sculptors to lead a team of sculptors who worked on the 129 figures of the enormous monument, each of which was approved by the Emperor.

the height of the giant was 15.7 meters, height of figures — 3.3 meters, the circumference of the relief 26.5 meters and a weight of 100 tons, valued at more than 500 thousand rubles. Author ProEKTA received the order of St. Vladimir of IV degree and a lifetime pension of 1,200 silver rubles annually.

tremendous success of the monument provided Mikeshin orders till the end of life. He designed many of the monuments were installed in different cities of the country and even abroad in Lisbon and Belgrade. However, he never gave up drawing: the artist’s illustrations graced editions of the works of A. S. Pushkin, N. In. Gogol, T. G. Shevchenko, N. And. Nekrasov, and in 1876-1878 he was the editor of the satirical magazine “Bee”, in which he published his caricatures. Apparently, at this time, and held their acquaintance with Satiny, then still not very famous, a young printer.

For Sytin to enlist the attention of such renowned artists was a big success. Their collaboration began with an order of four drawings that went into circulation for subsequent sale. Two prints — “the meeting of Ilya Muromets with the robbers” and “On the death of Svyatogor-Bogatyr and transfer the heroic spirit of Ilya Muromets” — was based on Russian fairy tales. Splint “Our Catherine” portrayed Russian beauty with a scythe in national costume, and “On Roma, the man and his Mare” (another name — “the Gypsy and Epiphanes”) was founded on going at that time, the joke intended in the form of a comic strip of six pictures on one sheet.

the Fee Mikeshin was 100 rubles for a picture that was small money for such a venerable author. In the letter sytinu he wrote: “For me my art and service to their abilities and people more holier than any money.” While Mikeshin not wanted to risk his reputation working at such a low genre, as a splint, therefore, emerged as a result images contain almost anonymous signature “Portrayed Mike M.”.

having Barely started, the collaboration was interrupted because of the insistence of the artist to quality that makes the first steps the entrepreneur could not provide. Mikeshin was insisted that the form for printing his originals have done a recognized master of lithography, a known innovator in the field of printing equipment Michael Rudometov, who had to pay 150 rubles for the form. In order to save Sytin wanted, without the knowledge of Mikeshin, to use their own carvers, which did not have such a high qualification. When the fraud was discovered, there was a scandal, and the edition left only “Our Catherine” and “Gypsies and Epiphanes” in rudolfovska option.

In the end, “Ilya Muromets with the robbers” still came later, a year before the painter’s death, and not at Sytin. What was with the “Death of Svyatogor-Bogatyr” is unknown.

the Fate of two printed prints were different. “Our Catherine”, essentially representing a pin-up of the end of the XIX century, was in great demand at the main at the time the consumer sytinskiy products Patriarchal peasant. It was because of a frivolous signature invented by Mikeshin:

Evo our Caterina — daubed painting.

Front of the boys walking with their fingers,

in Front of Mature people going white bulb.

after Reading these poems, the village potential buyer sheepishly shrugged: well, as it’ll hang at home? Or even angrily turned away: disgrace!

And here is the comic book “Gypsy and Epiphanes” with humor on the verge of turned out to be a commercial success. Four years later, in 1886, the artist suggested sytinu to publish the sequel to the popular “Gypsy and Epiphany”, and not one sheet, and “a book that pictures were in color and each — short, but perfectly composed in the folk style, verses — text”. In his new prank called “About how man Epiphanes succumbed to the hype and how what happened then” acted the same characters as the preceding.

In the story, divided into nine figures, simple Epiphanes lucky for sale in city eggs. On the market his goods fraud goes to the Gypsy, and the misled man inevitably steals a rooster and a hen, and then forced to flee from the crowd. Thief gets instant retribution: a lot of eggs with vodka, gives up the Ghost.

Mikeshin sent sytinu the sketches ready, mentioning that the poem will make his friend the playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. Unfortunately, they did not. We can only guess why such a curious proposal not embodied in the publication of a new comic. Maybe Sytin was dissatisfied with the previous cooperation with Mikeshin, and maybe the reason is that in these four years his business grew and due to the abundance of orders on hand prior to the offering is not reached.

the Story of “the Gypsy and Epiphany” was continued after the death of Mikeshin, at the beginning of the First world war. In 1914, this cartoon was reworked by the artist Mikhail Shcheglov, who has previously illustrated for Sytin luxury posthumous edition of Leo Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina”. In a new, Patriotic version of sly Gypsy had replaced the Russian soldiers, and the place of the fool-a man took the German Kaiser Wilhelm II. Otherwise, fun story with turpentine remains the same.

Although the widespread popularity of comic books has not come yet, Sytin, apparently, highly valued for their commercial potential. It is symbolic that the last of them released desktop calendars “Soviet” in the year 1919, culminating in the comical series “Short story “safe” the reign of Nicholas II”, designed in the spirit of the comic.