View of Svetlitsa Island. The Archangel Michael Church. Ostashkov


From 1909 to 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) made several trips to the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, urban settings, and natural scenes. In the summer of 1910 Prokudin-Gorskii visited the region of Tver, to the northwest of Moscow. Shown in this idyllic scene is a pontoon bridge at the village of Svetlitsa, located on Stolbnyi Island in Lake Seliger. The bridge facilitated access to the island, which contained the Monastery of Saint Nil Stolobenskii, founded in 1594. The monastery was one of the largest in Russia when this photograph was taken, with some 40,000 pilgrims and other visitors annually. Seen here is the parish Church of Archangel Michael, built in the early 19th century in a neoclassical style. Above the main space is a rotunda dome crowned with a small cupola. At the west end is a bell tower. The church is surrounded by stately pines, and the lakefront is edged with a log embankment. The road on the right is bordered by a painted wooden fence. In the 1930s this church was demolished and its dismantled brick used for construction. Prokudin-Gorskii 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Вид на Светлицу. Церковь Михаила Архангела. [Осташков]

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