Picture 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, where he photographed at the Trinity-Ipat’evskii Monastery. This photograph shows an illuminated page from a large 1603 copy of the Gospels donated by the boyar Ivan Ivanovich Godunov and intended for altar service. This page is devoted to the life and genealogy of Mary Theotokos (Mother of God). At the top of the miniature are three related scenes (from left): the Nativity of Mary with a depiction of St. Anne; the Annunciation; and the Purification, or the Presentation of the infant Jesus to Simeon the Righteous in the Temple in Jerusalem. Secondary scenes and text excerpts fill the background. Beneath these scenes are figures related to Mary's genealogy. They are connected with an ivy vine and conclude with her parents Joachim and Anna (upper center). The miniature is bordered with a decorative floral pattern. 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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: January 11, 2017