South Front of the Kremlin from the Old Bridge

Object Details


South Front of the Kremlin from the Old Bridge


Roger Fenton (English, 1819 - 1869)




Moscow, Russia, Asia (Place created)
Moscow, Russia, Asia (Place depicted)


September 1852


Salted paper print from a paper negative


18.4 × 21.4 cm (7 1/4 × 8 7/16 in.)

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Towers, walls, and turrets recede into the distance as far as the eye can see. The strong diagonal composition formed from Moscow's architecture is reinforced by the river bank and the sweep of barges in the foreground. To achieve this view, Roger Fenton set up his camera on a bridge across from the Moscow River. On the left, beyond the expanse of the river and a slender water tower, stands the recently completed Great Palace of the Kremlin. The octagonal bell tower of Ivan the Great rises just above and to the right. Another sixteenth-century building, the Cathedral of the Archangel, neighbors the bell tower.

In September 1852, Fenton-who had only taken up photography a few months earlier-traveled to Russia with an acquaintance who was constructing a bridge for Czar Nicholas I. Perhaps recognizing that he was one of the first photographers to train his camera on Russia, Fenton made views of Moscow and St. Petersburg, capturing the distinct architectural character of each city. The cityscapes in this series are the earliest surviving photographs of Russia.

Related Works
All the Mighty World: The Photographs of Roger Fenton, 1852 - 1860 (October 17, 2004 to January 2, 2006)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), October 17, 2004 to January 2, 2005
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 1 to April 24, 2005
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), May 24 to August 21, 2005
  • Tate Britain (London), September 21, 2005 to January 2, 2006