Two Icons - Saints Peter and Paul. From the Chapel of Peter the Great in the Village of Petrovskoe. Russian Empire


The Mariinsky Canal System (now known as the Volga-Baltic Waterway) links Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin. A critical component in the construction of the system was an 18th-century canal linking the Vytegra River (flowing into Lake Onega toward Saint Petersburg) and the Kovzha River (flowing south into White Lake). This photograph shows icons of Saints Peter (right) and Paul from the chapel in the village of Petrovskoe, located on the canal in the Vytegra region (present-day Vologda Oblast). The chapel, presumably built at the turn of the 19th-century, was dedicated to Emperor Peter I, who is reputed to have visited the village in 1711. The icons were primitively painted in an illustrative style typical of the 19th century and show surface damage. In the background is the chapel’s painted plank siding. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Две иконы: Св. Петра и Павла. Из часовни Петра I в дер. Петровское. [Российская империя]

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

Last updated: September 23, 2016