Savior in the Dungeon. A Carved Figure in the Assumption Church in the City of Cherdyn


In 1909 and 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled extensively in the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, urban settings, and natural landscapes. His visit to the northern Urals in the summer of 1912 included a trip to Cherdyn, located 310 kilometers north of the city of Perm. Settled as early as the 9th century, Cherdyn became an important eastern outpost of Muscovy in the latter half of the 15th century. By the turn of the 20th century, Cherdyn, which was situated on the Kolva River, was a regional trade and administrative center. During the 18th and 19th centuries a number of brick churches were built in the town, each with its own display of religious art. Seen in this photograph is a wooden sculpture from the Assumption Church depicting Christ in prison. Although Russian Orthodox Church councils had forbidden the three-dimensional depiction of the suffering body of Christ, carved statues such as this one were a distinctive part of traditional religious culture in the Perm region during the 18th century. This sculpture references the detainment of Christ during the intervals between the three judgments preceding the Crucifixion. 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

Спаситель в темнице. Резная фигура в Успенской церкви г. Чердынь

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 28, 2016