Iconostasis of the Tikhvin Mother of God Church. Torzhok


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 visited Torzhok, located 60 kilometers west of Tver’ and referred to in written sources as early as 1139. Seen here is the interior of the wooden Church of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God, located on the high right (west) bank of the Tvertsa River. Built in the 1650s and rebuilt in 1717, this remarkable tiered tower structure rises 34 meters and was originally dedicated to the Ascension. Abandoned in the 1850s, the church was repaired and reconsecrated in 1883 to the Tikhvin Icon. This view toward the east from the vestibule shows the Tikhvin Icon (left) in an elaborate metal frame. Beyond the arch is an iconostasis with the Royal Doors displaying the Annunciation (Archangel Gabriel and Mary). During the Soviet period, the icon screen and other sacred objects visible in this valuable record were ransacked, although some of the interior wall paintings survived. 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 церкви Тихвинской Божьей Матери. [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