Iconostasis of the Church of Saint Nicholas the Wonder Worker. Rostov Velikii


In 1911, the Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the town of Rostov the Great, located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow. His many photographs of the historic town include this view of the iconostasis in the Church of Saint Nicholas in Podozerye (1745). Although the church exterior is simple in form, the design of this gilded wooden iconostasis reflects the elaborate decorative style of the late baroque in Russia. The Royal Gate leading to the altar in the center displays the dove of the Holy Spirit contained within a wreath and emanating rays. Beneath is a relief carving of the Annunciation with Archangel Gabriel extending a floral bough to Mary. A curved double stairway frames an oval icon of the Last Supper. At the bottom are two medallions depicting the four Evangelists—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. On either side of the Royal Gate are icons of Mary (left) and Christ with a carved floral halo. To the right of Christ is an icon of an archangel, also probably Gabriel. At the beginning of the 20th century, 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

Иконостас церкви Св. Николая Чудотворца. 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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: October 24, 2017