In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited Rostov the Great, located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow. Its main landmark is the kremlin (citadel), more precisely known as the Court of the Metropolitan, constructed primarily in the 1670s and 1680s by the powerful prelate Metropolitan Jonah Sysoevich (circa 1607–90). With the transfer of the Metropolitanate from Rostov to Yaroslavl in 1787 the kremlin fell into decay, but in the late 19th century local merchants gathered funds to maintain the ensemble. In 1883, the White Chamber, built as a banquet hall for the Metropolitan of Rostov, opened as a museum of church antiquities. Shown here are two embroidered liturgical cloths (vozdukhi) that were used to cover the chalice and plate (diskos) for the wine and the bread of the Eucharist. Both cloths depict the Lamentation, and both are bordered with elaborate donor inscriptions. The upper cloth displays seraphim in the four corners. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of his photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire.
Note: Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.
Place: Europe; Russian Federation; Yaroslavl Oblast; Rostov
Institution: Library of Congress
Physical description: Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)