View of Tiflis from the Grounds of Saint David Church
Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) was a pioneer in the development of color photography. In the early 1900s, he formulated an ambitious plan to carry out a photographic survey of the Russian Empire. After gaining the support of Tsar Nicholas II, between 1909 and 1915 he completed surveys of 11 regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation. This photograph by Prokudin-Gorskii is a panoramic view of Tiflis (present-day Tblisi), as the capital of Georgia was known at the time. It shows churches, houses with overhanging balconies, and courtyards, narrow streets, and medieval buildings. Tbilisi was founded in the fifth century, and its architectural heritage includes Byzantine, European, Middle Eastern, and local Georgian styles. At the time this photograph was taken (circa 1910), Tbilisi had a population of 160,000 that included Georgians, Armenians, Russians, Persians, Poles, Tatars, and Jews.
Title in Original Language
Вид на Тифлис с площадки церкви Св. Давида
Type of Item
Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)
- 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/.
Last updated: November 7, 2017