RUSSIAN EASTER POSTCARDS
Easter is the holiest day in the Christian calendar, the most glorious and joyous Christian festival. It is called the Feast of Feasts and the Triumph of Triumphs. The holiday is a time to rejoice and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This oldest tradition has come from the apostles in succession. Starting from the apostolic era, the Easter greetings: 'Christ has arisen!' — "(He has) truly arisen!" - are handed down from age to age.
Since postcards began, greeting cards have given us the opportunity to reach out to our friends and family and send out these words for them for a Happy Easter! In this country, some of the first Easter picture cards showing four spring scenes by the notable Russian watercolorist and writer N.N.Karazin appeared in 1898. These ealiest Easter postcards were printed by the Community of St. Eugenia, a publishing house and a subsection of the St. Petersburg Committee of the Red Cross. This publishing company which was regarded as the best in Russia - gave birth to the picture postcards. Many notable artists who helped to design St. Eugenia's printed Easter cards included I.Bilibin and F.Berenshtam, V.Zarubin and I.Smukrovich, N.Pimonenko and E.Bem. Each of them took his (or her) distinct approach to art designs. Some of the last cards published by St. Eugenia, which came out in March 1917, were Easter cards depicting brilliantly-coloured Easter eggs known as Ukrainian Pisanky.
Other publishers also reproduced art works by skillful Russian illustrator on multy-coloured Easter postcards: among them were leading postcard publishing companies like Richard (Saint Petersburg), Granberg (Stockholm) and Lenz and Rudolf (Riga) working in collaboration with the painter M.Germashev who is not so well known today.
Actually, a majority of early postcards were printed in Europe and then imported into Russia. Most of them were black-and-white photographic cards. Foreign picture Easter cards, though, used unfamiliar symbols in Russian tradition. Chickens and rabbits were never as popular on Russian postcards as on European and American ones.
But soon, in the new Soviet society, Easter postcards went out of use for decades.
Starting in 1991, Russian publishers recommenced printing Easter postcards after years. However, many morden artists imitate the turn-of-the-20th-century designs on their cards, while new original art creations are still based on the narrow subject range: a church, traditional Easter cakes, Paskha and Kulich, pussy willows and, naturally, dyed or painted chickens eggs. To better understand how many subjects have been, at some time, portrayed on Easter postcards, look at the early cards printed during the 1900s and 1910s...