Details of Milan Cathedral


This 1906 photo is of Milan’s great cathedral, Il Duomo di Milano, dedicated to Saint Mary Nascent and seat of the Archbishop of Milan. Begun in 1386, the cathedral—the largest in Italy—was formally completed only in 1965. Its primary style derives from the late French Gothic, with extensive use of statuary and flying buttresses. This dramatic photograph, taken from the cathedral roof on the south side, shows one of the buttresses decorated with crockets. The main structure (left) has attached statuary. In the right background is the octagonal Campanile of the Church of San Gottardo (Saint Gotthard) in Corte, located near the Royal Palace, the city’s historic administrative center. With its multiple arcades and crowning statue, the San Gottardo campanile is considered one of the most impressive bell towers in Lombardy. 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 parts of the empire. Prokudin-Gorskii visited Milan in the summer of 1906.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Детали собора в Милане

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