Iconostasis in the Church of Saint John the Theologian. Rostov Velikii


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited Yaroslavl province, including the  ancient city of Rostov the Great. One of Rostov’s distinctive monuments is the wooden Church of Saint John the Divine, located just beyond the town in the village of Bogoslov on the small Ishnia River. Built in 1687–89, the church contained a remarkable icon screen created in 1562 by the monk Isaiah at the Saint Avraamii-Epiphany Monastery. Originally made for the Chapel of Saint Avraamii in the monastery’s Epiphany Cathedral, the iconostasis was moved to the Church of Saint John, which belonged to the monastery. In the late 19th century, it was moved again, to the Rostov Museum. The Church of Saint John received a copy, which Prokudin-Gorskii photographed. At the center of the iconostasis is the intricately carved and decorated Royal Gate seen here. The church, as well as both versions of the Royal Gate, have survived. Dimly visible above is the Deesis Row of icons. 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 в церкви Иоанна Богослова. 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