General View of Borodino's Church. 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. Foremost among them was the Borodino battlefield, where the Russian and French armies clashed in a titanic battle on September 7, 1812. Seen in this view toward the east is the Church of the Nativity of Christ, situated in the village of Borodino in front of the right flank of the Russian forces. Built in 1697–1701, the elevated brick structure was composed of an octagonal bell tower that led to a large octahedron with a high cupola in the east. The ground floor of the church had an altar dedicated to the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, which in 1839 became the primary dedication of the church. This icon was revered as a protector against Russia’s enemies from the west. The church overlooked the site of the Raevskii Redoubt, a Russian fortification that became a focal point of the battle. 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 Бородинской церкви. Бородино

Additional Subjects

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