Elena Mrozovskaya

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Elena Mrozovskaya

Elena Lukinichna Mrozovskaya or Helène de Mrosovsky (née Knyazhevich, Russian: Елена Лукинична Мрозовская née Княжевич, before 1892 – 1941) was an early Russian professional photographer of Montenegrin descent.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Mrozovskaya's brother, Vladimir Pavlovich Mrozovsky, was a mechanical engineer and painter, and her uncle, Iosif Ivanovich Mrozovsky (ru), became the military governor-general of Moscow from 1915 to 1917.[3] Mrozovskaya herself was originally a teacher and sales clerk. She studied photography at the Russian Technical Society, finishing in 1892, and then continued her studies with Nadar in Paris.[1][2] Returning to St. Petersburg, she opened a studio there in 1894.[1][2] In the 1920s, she was living in Serovo, a district of St. Petersburg. She died in 1941 in Repino, another district of St. Petersburg.[4]


Mrozovskaya's subjects included Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,[2] Mathilde Kschessinska,[3] Vera Komissarzhevskaya, and other artists, writers, and actors of the time.[1] Her photos of the interior of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, taken beginning in 1896, are among the earliest recordings of the conservatory, and in 1897 she was named its official photographer.[2] She won a bronze medal at the General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm (1897) and a silver medal at the Exposition Universelle (1900) in Paris, and participated as well in the Liège International (1905).[1][2]

Collections and exhibits[edit]

Princess Olga Orlova at the 1903 Ball

One of her photos, a hand-tinted image of Princess Olga Orlova wearing a kokoshnik at the 1903 Ball in the Winter Palace, is in the collection of the Hermitage Museum[5] and was sent to the Hermitage Rooms of Somerset House in London in 2003, as part of a traveling exhibit celebrating St. Petersburg's tricentennial.[6][7] Another of her tinted photos, "Portrait of girl in Little Russia costume", is in the collection of the Moscow House of Photography, and was exhibited in Amsterdam in early 2013 as part of an exhibit organized by the Russian Ministry of Culture.[8] Many photos by Mrozovskaya are kept in the collection of the St. Petersburg Conservatory,[2] and several more are in the collection of the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e Бархатова, Е.В., Мрозовская Елена Лукинична [Elena Lukinichna Mrozovskaya] (in Russian), Runivers, retrieved 2013-10-18 .
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Елена Мрозовская: первая русская женщина-фотограф [Elena Mrozovskaya: the first Russian woman photographer] (in Russian), rosphoto.com, November 12, 2012 .
  3. ^ a b Chuilon, Jacques (2009), Mattia Battistini: King of Baritones and Baritone of Kings, Scarecrow Press, p. 316, ISBN 9780810867277 .
  4. ^ Pachmuss, Temira (1992), A moving river of tears: Russia's experience in Finland, American university studies: Slavic languages and literature, 15, P. Lang, p. 173, ISBN 9780820419565, Elena Lukinichna Mrozovskaya, an artistic photographer in St. Petersburg, had a house in Vammelsuu in the 1920s; in 1941 she died in Kuokkala, after the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-40. 
  5. ^ Exhibitions on tour: Princess Olga Orlova in masquerade, Hermitage Museum, retrieved 2013-10-19.
  6. ^ Monahan, Mark (June 14, 2003), "Viewfinder: Princess Orlova-Davydova", The Daily Telegraph .
  7. ^ St. Petersburg: A 300th Birthday Tribute, Hermitage Rooms Archive, Courtauld Gallery, retrieved 2013-10-19.
  8. ^ Brooks, Katherine (December 19, 2012), Color Photography In Russia: 'Primrose' Exhibit Features Amazing Vintage Snapshots Of The Motherland, Huffington Post .
  9. ^ Mrozovskaya, Helena Lukinichna, Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, retrieved 2013-10-18.