Pictures from the 1603 Gospel. In the Vestry of the Ipatevskii Monastery. Kostroma


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the town of Kostroma and photographed at the Trinity-Ipat’evskii Monastery. Founded as early as the late 13th century, the monastery received lavish gifts in the 16th century from the Godunov family, relatives of Tsar Boris Godunov (1552–1605). This photograph shows a colored miniature from a large 1603 copy of the Gospels held in the monastery treasury. The book was intended for service at the altar. The image, edged with a decorative border, depicts the Evangelist Mark writing his gospel within the walls of Jerusalem. At the top, an eagle clutches a copy of the holy book. As a Christian symbol, the eagle is usually associated with Saint John, while Saint Mark is symbolized by the lion. Prokudin-Gorskii photographed several illuminations in this volume, which was a donation from the boyar Ivan Ivanovich Godunov, a cousin twice removed of Tsar Boris. Ivan Godunov held the high court position of okolnichii (attendant to the tsar). 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

Снимки из Евангелия 1603-го года. В ризнице Ипатьевскаго монастыря. Кострома

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

Last updated: January 11, 2017