Entrance into the Church of Saint John the Precursor, from the Gallery (Church Porch). Yaroslavl


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled to the middle Volga region and spent time in the medieval centers of Yaroslavl and Kostroma. Shown here is the main portal of the Church of the Decapitation of John the Baptist at Tolchkovo, one of the greatest monuments of Yaroslavl. Built over an extended period from 1671–87, this highly decorated brick church has profiled portals on the north, west and south facades. The same facades are encased in a one-story gallery, the walls of which are covered with frescoes painted in 1700 by a group of artists headed by the Yaroslavl masters Dmitrii Plekhanov and Fedor Ignatiev. The portal arches are formed by molded brick; details are rendered in polychrome, as are the iron door panels. Above the portal are medallions of saints culminating in a deesis trinity consisting of images of Christ, Mary, and John the Baptist, all with crowns. The portal is guarded by the Archangel Michael (left) and the Archangel Gabriel. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of his 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

Вход в церковь Иоанна Предтечи из галлереи (паперти). Ярославль

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: March 3, 2017