Railroad Bridge across the Western Dvina River Near Dvinsk


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. Prokudin-Gorskii created the glass plate negatives for this photograph of a railroad bridge across the Western Dvina River near Dvinsk (present-day Daugavpils, Latvia) during his 1911–12 photographic survey of sites associated with Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812. Five railway lines, including the St. Petersburg-Warsaw line, were built through Dvinsk in 1860–73, making it an important railroad junction. As seen in the photograph, the river was used for local logging as well as for transporting goods to the port of Riga.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Железно-дорожный мост через р. Западную Двину у Двинска

Type of Item

Physical Description

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