Detail of a Wall in the Assumption Cathedral. Riazan


The ancient city of Ryazan is first mentioned in chronicles in 1096. This 1912 view shows the lower part of the south facade of the main Cathedral of the Dormition, located in the city’s Kremlin (fortress). A rebuilding of the cathedral, one of the largest 17th-century Russian churches, was completed in 1699 by the architect Yakov Bukhvostov. Over 40 meters high, with extensive window space, the structure is balanced on Bukhvostov's system of cellar vaults that also support a terrace used by the photographer to capture this image. The red brick facades are framed with carved limestone columns, pediments, and window surrounds in a florid style typical for this period. Close examination shows that the limestone carving has been emphasized in white on a deep blue background. Visible on the right is part of the Cathedral of Archangel Michael. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Деталь стены Успенскаго собора. Рязань

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 22, 2015