Iconstasis in the Assumption Cathedral (800 Years) in Staritsa Monastery


In the 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 Staritsa, located near the confluence of the Staritsa River with the Volga. Its major religious institution was the Dormition Monastery, revived in the early 16th century by Prince Andrei Ioannovich of Staritsa. This photograph shows the iconostasis of the monastery’s Dormition Cathedral, built in 1530. The stylistic features of the iconostasis, which separates the congregation from the altar, suggest that it was erected no earlier than the end of the 17th century. The large icons on the first, or local, row are encased in elaborate overlays of silver and gold plate. In the center is the royal gate, the primary entry to the altar in the cathedral apse. Above are the square holiday icons of the second, or festival, row. The third row, known as the Deesis, centers on a large image of Christ Enthroned. The fourth row is devoted to the prophets and centers on an image of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child. 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

Иконостас в Успенском соборе (800 л.) в Старицком монастыре

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