Fresco in the Church of Isidor the Blessed. Rostov Velikii


Rostov the Great, with its many churches, was one of the historic cities of Yaroslavl Province in the Russian Empire. The Church of the Ascension was built in 1556 by command of Ivan IV over the grave of the Blessed Isadore Tverdoslov, a “fool in Christ” known for his miracles in Rostov during the latter half of the 15th century. In the 18th century a chapel dedicated to Isadore was added to the south side of the Ascension church, at which time the church was renamed for him. The frescoes shown here include a healing miracle (left) and a view of his abode, which consisted of a space surrounded by plants but no other shelter. In the background is a depiction of Rostov. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. 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 parts of the empire. This photograph shows Prokudin-Gorskii’s ability to capture the colors used in works of Russian church art.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Альфреска в церкви Исидора Блаженнаго. 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: September 23, 2016