Church in Sterzh near the Village of Novinka. Saint Vladimir's (Peter and Paul) Church


In May 1910, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed in the Ostashkov area of Tver Province. This view shows the settlement (pogost) of Sterzh at the village of Novinka near Lake Sterzh, considered one of the primary sources of the Volga River. In the distance is a northwest view of the whitewashed masonry Church of Saints Peter and Paul. Begun in 1807 to replace a wooden church, the building was completed only in 1822 because of lack of funds in the small parish. Its form consists of an octagonal structure rising above the main space with two levels of windows reminiscent of mid-18th century provincial baroque architecture. Beyond the main structure is a one-story refectory with secondary altars dedicated to the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God and to Saint Nicholas. At the west end is a bell tower. In the foreground are log houses, barns and a bathhouse with a chimney. The wooden structure braced with poles was used for drying hay. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Село Первинка. Церковь Ап. Петра и Павла

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: October 7, 2016