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. This photograph shows an illustrated page from a large 1603 copy of the Gospels donated by the boyar Ivan Ivanovich Godunov and intended for altar service. At the top of this miniature are scenes from the Nativity, including the Flight into Egypt (lower left of top panel), the massacre of the innocents, the Three Wise Men and the Adoration of the Magi, with the Nativity scene in the middle. The large panel beneath depicts the genealogy of Christ (son of David and Abraham) as recounted in the Gospel of Saint Matthew. The line begins in the bottom row with the figure of Abraham seated between two hills with walled towns (Zion). Emanating from his figure in a single strand of ivy are the descendants, beginning with Isaac and Jacob and concluding in the upper left with a seated image of Mary, on whose torso is the figure of the infant Jesus. 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