Cows in a Field
In the early summer of 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in Tver’ Province northwest of Moscow. Among the towns he visited was Rzhev, the population of which in that year was 22,400. The river divided the town into two parts historically known as Prince Fyodor (left bank) and Prince Dmitrii (right bank), after the son and nephew respectively of Prince Boris of Tver’, who ruled the town in the mid-15th century. This bucolic view shows cows and goats among daisies in a field near the Kholinka River, a 22-kilometer long left tributary of the Volga. The mouth of the river is in Rzhev on the Prince Fyodor side. DuringWorld War II, in the summer and fall of 1942, these fields, which probably are located near the village of Polunina, were the scene of mass slaughter reminiscent of World War I as Soviet forces attempted to retake the Rzhev salient as part of the First and Second Rzhev Offensive Operations. The cow’s head indicates motion during the time required for the photographer’s three-exposure color process. 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.
Title in Original Language
Коровы в поле
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: January 13, 2017