Two Icons in the Church of the Prophet Elijah. Belozersk, Russian Empire


The Mariinsky Canal System (now known as the Volga-Baltic Waterway) links Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin. Among the major components of the waterway is White Lake (Beloe ozero) in the Vologda territory. The town of Belozersk is located on the south shore of White Lake and became the main point on the White Lake Canal. Seen here are two icons from the town’s wooden tower church dedicated to the Prophet Elijah and erected in the 1690s. The icons, painted in an 18th-century academic style, depict two scenes from the Passion of Christ: the flagellation and taunting. Inscriptions of these scenes are visible above the head of Christ. The sacred images are set in wooden frames of elaborate baroque carving with floral and scallop motifs. Each frame is crowned with the head of a cherub. 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 в церкви Ильи Пророка. [Белозерск, 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