Kekin's Gymnasium. View from the Bell Tower of the Church of All Saints. Rostov Velikii


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled to Rostov the Great (Velikii), located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow. At the center of this view is the renowned Kekin Gimnaziia (high school), named in honor of Aleksei Kekin, a Saint Petersburg merchant who left his fortune to Rostov with the stipulation that funds be used to establish a high school. Thanks to the gift, the town, whose population at the time was around 15,000, gained a major educational institution that exists to this day. Planning for the school began in 1905, and the first classes opened in 1907. The design competition for the main building (1908–10) was won by Moscow architect Pavel Trubnikov, who adopted a neoclassical revival style. One of the school’s innovative features was an astronomical observatory, which opened in 1912. Originally intended for male students, the school soon accepted young women also. Visible on the right is a wooden chapel. (The administration declined to build an Orthodox chapel on the premises.) 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

Гимназия Кекина. Вид с колокольни Всесвятской церкви. Ростов Великий

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