Fresco on a Column in the Church of Saint John Chrysostom. Yaroslavl


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled to the middle Volga region and spent time photographing the church art of Yaroslavl. This view shows the northeast pier in the Church of Saint John Chrysostom, part of the church ensemble at Korovniki, a district of Yaroslavl near the confluence of the Kotorosl and Volga Rivers. Built in 1649–54, the church had extensive frescoes painted in 1732–33 by a group of local masters headed by Aleksei Ivanov. Depicted on the left side of the pier is the beheading of the first century martyr Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, a judge who was converted to Christianity by Saint Paul and who later became the first Bishop of Athens. Beneath the fresco is a metal-sheathed Tolg Icon of the Virigin, the name of which derives from the Tolg Convent across the Volga to the north of Yaroslavl. The border around the icon depicts scenes from the life of Mary. The corners of the pier display intricate “grapevine” columns typical of the late 17th-century Russian ornamental style. 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

Фреска на колонке в церкви Иоанна Златоуста. 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

Last updated: March 3, 2017