Entrance into Boris-Gleb Monastery for Men. Torzhok


In 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 Torzhok, situated on the Tvertsa River about 60 kilometers west of Tver’. The dominant architectural feature of Torzhok is the Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb, reputed to have been founded in 1038 and dedicated to early martyrs of the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery gained most of its large masonry buildings in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Seen here is a northwest view of the main structure of the neoclassical Church of the Miraculous Icon of the Savior, built in 1804–11 over the main gate. Culminating in a high bell tower, the church is attributed to the architect Nikolai L’vov, who was responsible for the design of the monastery’s main cathedral. After L’vov’s death in 1803, construction was supervised by F. Anan’in, the town architect. An unusual feature shown here is the use of faux marble decorative technique on the exterior walls. On the left is the Candle Tower at the southeast corner of the monastery walls. 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

Вход в Борисоглебский мужской монастырь [Торжок]

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 11, 2017