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Harta Politica a Europei

  • Publisher: I Negreanu, Bucharest
  • Engraver: Lith. Frati Moravek, Bucharest
  • Date: 1914
  • Dimensions: Sheet: 65.5 x 48 cms


Extremely rare 1914 satirical propaganda map of Europe published in Bucharest, Romania shortly after the outbreak of World War One

About this piece:

Harta Politica a Europei  [A Political Map of Europe]

Lithographic colour-printed broadsheet map. Traces of old folds. Backed on verso with museum-quality archival tissue for better presentation & preservation. A few marginal repairs to small corner pin holes and tears but generally an attractive & remarkably well-preserved example.

Extremely rare Romanian satirical map of Europe depicting in innovative and unusual zoomorphic and anthropomorphic fashion the geo-political landscape of the Continent following the outbreak of the First World War. Published in Bucharest by the firm of I. Negreanu, the map would perhaps seem to date from late 1914, with Turkey depicted as a still neutral observer watching unfolding events through a pair of binoculars (she entered the war on the German side in Nov 1914). Likewise Italy is here depicted as an armed bersaglieri, still seemingly un-engaged in hostilities, but with left arm outstretched towards potential French ally, Marianne. Despite her pre-war treaty agreements with Germany & Austro-Hungary, Italy would initially remain neutral before entering the war on the side of the Allies in late May 1915. Amongst the other neutrals, a childlike Portugal wears the Liberty cap; a seated Spanish royal couple look on from afar; a Dutch woman stands warming her hands over the eternal flame still burning on the altar of Peace; Denmark is the grey-haired “European mother-in-law” (soacra europei); across the Sund, a smoking Swede relaxes amongst his books; his neighbour, a fur-clad Norwegian, possibly the figure of explorer Roald Amundsen  [1872-1928], reaches northward clasping in his hands a model ship named Fram (- it was the Fram, Fridtjof Nansen’s former vessel during his 1893-96 Arctic explorations, which had also carried Amundsen to Antarctica during his 1910-12 expedition to the South Pole). Romania is shown as an armed soldier standing at the ready, though the country would in fact remain neutral until entering the war, perhaps opportunistically, on the side of the Allies in August 1916. The map is dominated by the giant Brown Bear that is Russia, on whose right flank stands a bearded cossack, the pair facing the combined assault of German and Austro-Hungarian guns and troops, the latter backed by the support of a ferocious double-headed Austrian Eagle. The figure of the Kaiser stands astride Germany, pistols in both hands, seemingly firing randomly to east and west. French & Belgian soldiers return fire as Marianne sits behind them in republican splendour, proudly holding aloft the French tricolour, beside the motto: Liberté Egalité, Fraternité and the olive branch of Peace. In the Balkans, Serbia is a crouching wolf, Montenegro a bushy-tailed fox, Albania a sad face with a large question mark (referencing the political chaos there following the outbreak of war and the September 1914 departure into exile of her only recently elected new King, William of Wied, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth of Romania). Bulgaria is a ferocious lion and Greece an armed soldier in traditional uniform. The British Isles are denoted by the colours of the Union Flag and by the large top-hatted profile of John Bull, whose arms reach out, in almost ghostly shadow-like fashion, to offer symbolic support to his Allies: Marianne across the Channel with his right hand, whilst his left stretches across to clasp that of the bearded Russian cossack in the waters of the Gulf of Finland.

An example of the map appears to be recorded in the Carol Gröbl’s detailed catalogue of the Library of the Academia Romana, Bucharest but we have found no other examples listed in institutional collections or in carto-bibliographic records of the First World War period.

A very rare and unusual 1914 Romanian publication.