Along the Banks of the Volga River

Masterpieces of the Russian photography from the second half of the 19th century
in the collection of the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg.

The Volga subject found its representation in different genres of the Russian photography. It is not by chance that one of the first and most important documents of national panoramic photography was a 40-plate album called Views of the Volga River from Tver to Kazan (1866 - 1867). Its author, Mikhail Nastyukov, was well-know, had many followers and owned a photographic studio in Moscow. He was patronized by the Crown Prince Alexander Aleksandrovich who became the Russian emperor Alexander III in 1883. Nastyukov's photographs of the Volga River are considered to be his most famous works even despite the fact that some pictures are technically imperfect. However, most of the plates in this unique album are remarkable for their composition and the author's ability to depict and convey the magnificence of the Volga expanses, the width of the water way, the beauty of the river banks with majestic churches and cathedrals along them.

In 1869, one of the first attempts in the field of technical photography was made by other famous Moscow artists - Martin Scherer and Georgy Nabholz. Their album Views of Gryazi - Tsaritsyn Railway /Tsartsyn is now Volgograd/ is a thorough depiction of the major railway that conveyed oil, timber and grain as transit goods from the lower Volga to the centre of Russia. Scherer and Nabholz became famous in 1867 for their panorama of Moscow. In photographing the railway, the artists originally combined the new means of documenting industrial installations with the traditional methods of making panoramic pictures.

Mikhail Nastyukov. The Settlement of Kimri, Tver Province Mikhail Nastyukov. The Holy Trinity Monastery in Kalyazin
Mikhail Nastyukov. Nizhny Novgorod. View from the Fair The Tolga Monastery near Yaroslavl.
Ivan Barshchevsky. Yaroslavl. The Cross of the Christmas Church

© The National Library of Russia, 2009