General View of the Ferapontovskii Monastery near Mozhaisk. Borodino


In 1911–12, in connection with the centenary of the 1812 Napoleonic campaign against Russia, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed sites along the invasion route. Among them was the town of Mozhaisk, first mentioned in medieval chronicles in 1231. Seen here is the Luzhetskii Nativity of the Virgin Monastery, founded in 1408 by Saint Ferapont of Mozhaisk and Belozersk. Its main church, dedicated to the Nativity of the Mother of God, was built soon after the monastery’s founding and rebuilt of brick in 1520. This view, taken from the east in 1911, shows the Nativity Cathedral with five domes. Visible just to the right is the cupola of the Church of Saint Ferapont, built in the late 16th century and destroyed in the Soviet period. On the left is a large bell tower built in 1673–92 with the support of Patriarch Joachim and containing a burial chapel for the Savyolov family. Enclosing the monastery are walls and towers from the 18th and 19th centuries. 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

Общий вид Ферапонтовскаго монастыря близ Можайска. [Бородино]

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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: November 1, 2016