Assumption Cathedral from Kazan Mountain. Smolensk
In 1911 and 1912, in connection with the centenary of the 1812 Napoleonic campaign against Russia, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed sites associated with events along the invasion route. Prominent among them was the city of Smolensk, first mentioned in medieval chronicles in the year 862. This impressive view southeast from Kazan Hill centers on the city’s main shrine, the Cathedral of the Dormition, originally built in 1101, but severely damaged during a Polish siege in the early 17th century. The cathedral was rebuilt over a period of several decades in the 18th century. Its present Baroque form was created in the 1730s by Gottfried Schädel. Visible in front of the cathedral is a large bell tower (1763–72), and on the right is the small Epiphany Cathedral (1785–87). In the foreground are wooden houses built on brick ground floors. On the lower right, a woman and children stand at a doorway. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. 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.
Title in Original Language
Кафедральный Успенский собор с Казанской горы. Смоленск
Type of Item
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: October 7, 2016