Icon with a Depiction of Aleksandr Nevsky. 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 icon from the monastery treasury depicts Saint Alexander Nevskii, the most revered medieval Russian prince and military leader. Born in Pereslavl-Zalesskii in 1221, Alexander had little chance of succeeding his grandfather, Grand Prince Vsevolod Yurevich, as the ruler of the important town of Vladimir. Instead, Alexander was called to become prince of the commercial center Novgorod the Great in 1236, a year before the Mongol invasion. Although Alexander defeated the Swedes (in 1240) and the Teutonic Knights (in 1242), he refrained from fighting the overwhelming force of the Mongols, who made him Grand Prince of Vladimir. Just before his death, in 1263, he accepted monastic vows under the name Alexii. This image shows him in monastic robes. Most of the icon’s surface is covered with an elaborately tooled silver overlay. 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

Икона с изображением Александра Невскаго. 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