View of Borodino Station from Utitskaia Fortification. Borodino Battlefield

Description

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. Seen in the distance of this 1911 photograph are buildings at the Borodino railroad station, which was substantially enhanced in preparation for the 1912 centennial observance. The photograph was taken from an elevation known as the Utitskii kurgan, which overlooked the old Smolensk Road, a vulnerable spot in the south part of the Russian left flank. A seesaw battle occurred at the village of Utitsy, with French movements hindered by dense ground cover. The Russian forces at the Utitsky flèche (fortification) were commanded by General Nicholas Tuchkov, who died of wounds sustained in the battle. At the end of the day the Russian contingent was able to withdraw in good order. His brother, Alexander Tuchkov, was also killed that day in the center of the Russian line. Although French forces commanded by Prince Józef Poniatowski attempted to surround the position, the Russian contingent in the Utitsy area held fast and was able to withdraw in good order. 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

Вид на станцию Бородино от Утицкой флеши. Бородино

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)

Notes

  • 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