Saturday, November 1, 2008

Documenting The Russian Empire In 1910

The above color photograph was taken in 1910 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, before the advent of color photography. He had a technique of rapidly shooting a series of monochromatic pictures through different colored lenses and then projecting these through a properly colored light. He traveled the countryside from 1909-1915, as he sought to document the Russian Empire.

The caption to the picture, from the Library of Congress reads thus: " View of the Nilova Monastery. The Monastery of St. Nil on Stolobnyi Island in Lake Seliger in Tver Province, northwest of Moscow, illustrates the fate of church institutions during the course of Russian history. St. Nil (d. 1554) established a small monastic settlement on the island around 1528. In the early 1600s his disciples built what was to become one of the largest, wealthiest, monasteries in the Russian Empire. The monastery was closed by the Soviet regime in 1927, and the structure was used for various secular purposes, including a concentration camp and orphanage. In 1990 the property was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and is now a functioning monastic community once again."

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