Utitskii Forest and Fields from the Bell Tower of the Spaso-Borodinskii Monastery in Borodino


In 1911–1912, 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. Shown here is a view south over the Utitsy forest and fields from the bell tower of the Savior-Borodino (Spaso-Borodinskii) Convent, located at the center of the battlefield near the village of Semenovskoe. The convent was granted formal status in 1838 through the initiative of Margarita Tuchkova, widow of General Alexander Tuchkov, who was killed in combat at Borodino. A seesaw battle occurred at the village of Utitsy on the south part of the Russian left flank, where French movements were hindered by dense ground cover. The Russian forces at the Utitsky flèche (fortification) were commanded by Alexander’s brother, General Nicholas Tuchkov, who died of wounds sustained there. 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

Утицкий лес и поля с колокольни Спасо-Бородинскаго монастыря. 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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: November 1, 2016