Vozdukhi (Sacramental Cloth Cover.) Gift from the Nun Marfa, the Mother of Tsar Mikhail Feodorovich. In the Church of the Annunciation. Makarev Monastery


In the late summer of 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) made a trip down the Volga River. He photographed religious monuments along the route, including the Trinity Saint Makarii Unzha Monastery, located on the Unzha River in what is now the town of Makaryev. The monastery was founded in 1439 by the monk Makarii after an earlier retreat he had founded in 1435 was destroyed by Kazan Tatars. This earlier site subsequently became the Trinity Saint Makarii Zheltovodskii Monastery. In the early 17th century, the monastery was closely associated with the Romanov family. Shown here on the background of the Annunciation Church are embroidered liturgical cloths (vozdukhi) that were used to cover the chalice and diskos (plate) for the sacraments — the wine and the bread. They were donated to the monastery by the nun Marfa Ivanovna, who before her tonsure was known as Kseniia Romanova (born Shestova). She was the mother of Mikhail Romanov (1596–1645), first tsar of the Romanov dynasty. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire on the eve of the Russian Revolution. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s 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

Воздухи. Дар Инокини Марфы, матери Царя Михаила Федоровича. В Благовещенской церкви. Макарьевский монастырь

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 8, 2018