In 1905, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. In 1912, Prokudin-Gorskii returned to photograph the dramatic landscape and ancient monuments of the mountainous interior of the Caucasus region, including the area around the Borjomi Gorge in present-day south-central Georgia. Among the sites he photographed were a number of Georgian Orthodox Christian shrines, including the Timotesubani Monastery, located in the Borjomi Gorge near the town of Tsaghveri in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region. This view shows the main church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. The church was built of brick with limestone details at the turn of the 13th century. The structure consists of a single drum and pointed dome over aisles that form the arms of a cross within a rectangular plan. The interior is decorated with frescoes dating from the 1220s. In the foreground are the overgrown ruins of the arched entrance to the monastery. The early patrons of the monastery are thought to be brothers Shalva and Ivane Toreli-Akhaltiskheli, rulers of the medieval fiefdom of Tori during the reign of Queen T’amar (who ruled from 1184–1213). Shalva, known for his struggle against various Islamic forces, died in captivity in 1227. 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.
Title in Original Language
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: October 7, 2016