Moscow River from 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 ancient town of Mozhaisk, first mentioned in medieval chronicles in 1231. This photograph, taken in 1911, shows the Moscow River in a view toward the northeast from the Luzhetskii Nativity of the Virgin Monastery. Mozhaisk benefited in the early 15th century from the establishment of the Luzhetskii Monastery on the northwestern fringe of town. Its founder, Saint Ferapont of Belozersk (1330s–1426, canonized in 1549), was a disciple of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, the avatar of Muscovite monasticism. In the foreground is a large complex of log barns and storehouses. The river is spanned by a seasonal wooden pontoon bridge that leads to a settlement called Elijah’s District (Ilinskaia sloboda). 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

Река Москва от Ферапонтовскаго монастыря. У Можайска. Бородино

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: November 1, 2016