River Koloch at the Village of Gorki with a High Bank. Borodino Battlefield
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. Foremost among them was the Borodino battlefield, where the Russian and French armies clashed on September 7, 1812. This photograph was taken in 1911 from the high right bank of the Koloch River, a 36 kilometer-long right tributary of the Moscow River. The shallow Koloch flows through the main area of the battlefield, on whose northern fringes the Russian commander, Prince Michael Kutuzov, had his headquarters at the village of Gorki — just to the right of this view. The Russian position here was protected by a large battery of artillery, part of the heavily defended Russian right flank astride the main road from Smolensk to Moscow. The main action of the battle, however, would take place on the hard-pressed Russian left flank. 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
Река Колочь у дер. Горки с высоким берегом. Бородино
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: November 1, 2016