Caricatures in russian publicism of the second half of the 19th century: by the materials of N. B. Gersevanov


The aim of the study was the desire to determine the place of the visual artistic and satirical component in the creative heritage of N. B. Gersevanov and the consideration of the caricature as a genre of journalism and a historical source in public opinion research of the 1850–1860s. Historiography. The history of the caricature was mainly of interest to art critics and artists. The sociocultural and political context of their appearance was considered, but in passing. The question of the place of caricature in the work of N. B. Gersevanov is raised for the first time. Sources. The set of sources was formed according to the principle of informational correspondence to the goal and consists of newspaper articles – reviews by N. B. Gersevanov on military cartoons and an album of cartoons “The Adventures of the Novgorod resident Fedora Ivanovna”, published under the pseudonym “Durov”. The materials involved cover 1858–1860. both the critic and the creator of this genre convincingly demonstrate the place of caricature in journalism of N. B. Gersevanov. Using the methods of historiographic and source analysis and synthesis allowed us to identify the state of development of the issue in the historical literature and realize the goal. The main result was the identification of thematic variability of the cartoons of N. B. Gersevanov and the reactions of representatives of the military community to them. Based on the content analysis, the contents of the caricature album “Adventures of the Novgorod resident Fedora Ivanovna” were investigated. The texts and the cartoons published by Gersevanov were a reaction to harsh criticism by the public of the Russian army and military after the defeat of the Russian Empire in the Crimean War of 1853–1856. Since 1812, wars have become a powerful impetus for development for the Russian caricature tradition. The humorous genre was not inherent in the work of Gersevanov, moreover, he considered it dangerous for military discipline. Thus, the appeal to the caricature of the socio-political and literary issues was a kind of experiment for the author. Despite economic success, the final goal was not achieved, the vices were not overcome. Gersevanov became convinced of the futility of ridiculing as a method of education, therefore, he did not turn to the humorous genre anymore. The conclusion is that the hermeneutic analysis of the texts and the contexts of their appearance allowed us to significantly expand our understanding of the multifaceted activities of such a little-explored personality as N. B. Gersevanov and to reveal the informational potential of the cartoon as a historical source. The type of article: analytical.

Author Biography

Kateryna Hryshchenko, Dmytro Yavornytsky Dnipropetrovsk National History Museum

Master of History, Researcher of the Scientific and Educational Department, Dmytro Yavornytsky Dnipropetrovsk National History Museum, Dnipro, Ukraine.


Durov, 1860. Pokhozhdeniya Novgorodskoy zhitel'nitsy Fedory Ivanovny [Adventures of the Novgorod resident Fedora Ivanovna]. St. Petersburg.

File 5106. Inventory 1. Fund 772. St. Petersburg: Russian State Historical Archives.

Gersevanov, N., 1858. O karikaturakh [About caricatures]. Russkiy invalid [The Russian Invalid], no. 80.

Gersevanov, N., 1859. O karikaturakh (Otvet g. Kirshu) [About cartoons (Answer to Mr. Kirsh)]. Russkiy invalid [The Russian Invalid], № 51.

Gesevanov, N., 1859. Nuzhna li v Rossii bol'shaya armiya? [Does Russia need a large army?]. Severnaya pchela [The Northern Bee], № 133.

Kirsh, I., 1858. Neskol'ko slov po povodu stat'i “Karikatury” [A few words about the article “Caricatures”]. Russkiy invalid [The Russian Invalid], № 93.

Varshavskiy, L. r., 1937. Russkaya karikatura 40‑kh – 50‑kh gg. XIX v. [Russian caricature in the 40s – 50s of the 19th century]. Moscow; Leningrad: Izogiz.
How to Cite
HRYSHCHENKO, Kateryna. Caricatures in russian publicism of the second half of the 19th century: by the materials of N. B. Gersevanov. Universum Historiae et Archeologiae = The Universe of History and Archeology = Універсум історії та археології = Универсум истории и археологии ISSN 2664-9950 (Print) ISSN 2707-6385 (Online), [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, p. 197–204, oct. 2020. ISSN 2707-6385. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 01 dec. 2022. doi:
Historiography. Source Study. Special Historical Disciplines