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Mice Burying the Cat  
 

Mice Burying the Cat

Date of Publication: Late 17th - first quarter of the 18th century. The imprint was issued in the 1760s.
Technique: Hand-coloured woodcut.
Size: 32,8 sm by 57,3 sm. Produced from two wooden blocks on two sheets, then pasted together end-to-end.
Origin: Pogodin collection.

The Mice Burying the Cat was extremely popular subject for lubok pictures in Russia. Over more than two centuries of its history, it has appeared in different variants and copies of the same print, produced in a variety of techniques: engravings, lithographs and chromolithographs. The origins of the lubok topic are obscure. For many years, it was considered a political cartoon of the funeral of Peter the Great, directed against the reforms instituted by the emperor. However, thanks to recent research, the print proved not to be an anti-Petrine satire. This fun-loving picture reflects a fairy plot from a folk-tale. The sharp humor of the print, undoubtedly has its roots in Russian folk art emphasizing the theme of the world turned upside-down.

The print was bought by Jacob von Stählin in 1766 by the Saviour Gate of the Kremlin in Moscow together with many other lubok pictures. This is the only surviving copy of the print and the earliest picture with this subject.


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