View of the Borisoglebskii Monastery from the Uste River. Borisoglebsk


In 1911, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) photographed widely in Yaroslavl province, including at the Monastery of Saints Boris and Gleb at Borisoglebskii. Founded in 1363 with the blessing of Saint Sergius of Radonezh (1314–92), the guiding light of Muscovite monasticism, the monastery was much favored by Muscovy’s rulers, including Tsars Ivan III (the Great) (1440–1505), Vasilii III (1479–1533) and Ivan IV (the Terrible) (1530–84). In the late 17th century, a building campaign supported by Metropolitan Jonah Sysoevich of Rostov (circa 1607–90) included the expansion of its massive brick walls. This magnificent view across a pasture from the east shows the full scale of the monastery, including the Church of Saint Sergius of Radonezh over the South Gate (far left); the east wall and towers; the bell tower and Church of Saint John the Baptist; the Cathedral of Saints Boris and Gleb; the Church of the Annunciation; the northeast corner tower; and the Church of the Purification over the North Gate. On the far right is the market. 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

Вид на Борисоглебский монастырь от реки Устье. [Борисоглебск]

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