General View of the First Church in Spaso-Borodinskii Monastery. Borodino


In 1911–12, in connection with the centenary of the 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. Seen here is a northwest view of the Church of the Miraculous Image of the Savior, erected in 1818–20 on the battlefield as a memorial with funds gathered by Margarita Tuchkova (1780–1852). Her husband, General Alexander Tuchkov, was killed during the struggle for the middle Bagration flèches (fortifications) near the site of the church. So fierce was the fighting that his body could not be recovered. The church served as the nucleus of a religious community that in 1838 would be formally recognized as the Savior-Borodino Convent. The neoclassical church, designed in the form of a mausoleum, now stands within the convent walls. 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 первой церкви в Спасо-Бородинском монастыре. 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