Palace in the Village of Borodino


At the Borodino battlefield, situated to the west of Moscow, Russian and French armies clashed on September 7, 1812, in an epochal struggle before the gates of the ancient Russian capital. The Battle of Borodino is thought to have been the bloodiest in all the Napoleonic wars, exceeding even Waterloo. Seen here is the courtyard facade of the wooden palace at Borodino, built in 1839 after purchase of the village for the imperial family in 1837. By the time of this photograph the palace had been modified and had served as a military hospital. The palace was destroyed during the German occupation of Borodino in the fall of 1941. There are plans for its reconstruction. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s 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. In connection with the centenary of the 1812 Napoleonic campaign against Russia, Prokudin-Gorskii in 1911 and 1912 photographed sites associated with events along the invasion route, including the Borodino battlefield.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Дворец в с. 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: September 23, 2016