Volga River near the City of Zubtsov


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 Zubtsov, located at the confluence of the Vazuza and Volga Rivers. This view east, taken from Moscow (formerly Polustova) Hill, shows the point at which the rivers meet. Across the river to the left is a partial view of the Zubtsov district known as the Volga side. Just visible is the cupola of the Church of the Transfiguration, built in 1794. Although still standing, the church was severely deformed during the Soviet period. Skiffs with figures are visible on the right bank and on the sand island. Enlarged by its merger here with the Vazuza, the Volga still has to travel 3,500 kilometers before its entry into the Caspian Sea. The photographer frequently made such panoramas, both for their intrinsic beauty and for the information that they provided about Russia’s waterways. 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

Волга около г. Зубцова

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: January 13, 2017