View of the Solovetskii Monastery from Land. Solovetski Islands
The Murmansk Railroad was built by the Russian government during World War I to connect Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) to the ice-free port of Romanov-on-Murman (now Murmansk). Construction lasted from 1914 to the spring of 1917 when the line was completed. Near the route was the Transfiguration Monastery, located on Great Solovetskii Island. This view of the monastery’s east wall was taken from the northeast. The massive walls of the monastery were constructed primarily of granite boulders, and were built between 1582 and 1621. In the foreground, with a small entrance, is the Kvasovarennaia Tower (from kvas, a lightly fermented drink). Beyond is the Povarennaia (Cook) Tower. In the distance is the Archangel Tower. On the far left is Holy Lake. On the right is the spire of the main bell tower. Within five years of this photograph, the Soviet regime had begun using this monastery as a concentration camp. 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 his 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. Support for his work was renewed during the First World War, and in 1916 he was commissioned to photograph this new railroad project; he also photographed regions along the route.
Title in Original Language
Вид Соловецкого монастыря с суши. [Соловецкие острова]
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: September 23, 2016