Church of Isidor the Blessed (Ascension). Rostov Velikii


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the town of Rostov the Great, located some 210 kilometers northeast of Moscow, where he photographed the town’s many churches. Seen here is a southwest view of the Church of the Ascension, also known as the Church of Isadore the Blessed on the Ramparts. The church was built in 1566 by the architect Andrei Maloi at the command of Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530–84), who provided state funds for its construction. Ivan especially venerated Isidore, who was born to a Catholic family near Brandenburg in the early 15th century. Having accepted the religious calling as a “fool in Christ” (iurodivy), Isadore made his way to Rostov, where he was known for his gift of prophesy and deep asceticism. He died in 1474 and was buried at the site of the Ascension Church. Its compact form with a trefoil upper wall is typical of early 16th-century parish church design. The south chapel of Saint Isidore was added in the 18th century and the bell tower in the early 19th century. 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

Церковь Исидора Блаженнаго (Вознесенья). 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: October 24, 2017