Not far from the Naumburg district of Großjena, twelve more than man-high picture reliefs from the stone wall on a large sandstone terrace wall, in the middle of a vineyard. The so-called "Stone Album" is one of the most unusual monuments to wine and the largest picture relief in the European cultural area that has ever been carved into a standing rock.
Not far from the Naumburg district of Großjena, twelve more than man-high picture reliefs from the stone wall on a large sandstone terrace wall, in the middle of a vineyard. The so-called "Stone Album" is one of the most unusual monuments to wine and the largest picture relief ever carved into a standing rock in the European cultural area.
The originator was the jeweller Johann Christian Steinauer, who came into wealth in Naumburg from 1705 as purveyor to the court of Duke Christian II of Saxony-Weissenfels. Steinauer acquired a vineyard around 1720. At that time, the ownership of vineyards was considered a status symbol of the wealthy Naumburg citizenship. As a tribute to the Duke, Steinauer had a relief carved from the rocks of his vineyard on the occasion of his tenth anniversary of the throne. Most of the twelve reliefs bear the date of 17 March 1722 for this purpose, although some of them were only created in the course of the following years. As the motifs of reliefs two and three do not match the ten others and bear coats of arms, it is assumed that they were created first.
In order to finance his project, Steinauer created a relief foundation, in which many friends took part and thus courted the Duke's favour. Among them were merchants from Augsburg and Berlin and the Naumburg pastor Fleuter.
The sculptor himself is unknown, but he created a masterpiece. Twelve scenes were created over a length of 150 metres. Ten of them contain stories from the Bible. The two others show a fox hunt and the equestrian portrait of Duke Christian. Of the ten Bible stories, six deal directly with biblical wine stories. Thus, the intoxication of Lot by his daughters can be seen, as well as Noah as the first winegrower, Christ in the wine press, Joshua and Caleb returning with a heavy grape, and the parable of the workers in the Lord's vineyard. Picture number five shows the wedding at Canaan, where Jesus, according to the Bible, changed water into wine, with an inscription: "God always makes wine out of water/ Blessed is the fruit/ Damned shall be the mixer/ who does not seek refreshment.
The relief idea probably goes back to different origins. On the one hand there was already a two-metre high winged angel carved in sandstone in the Kroppen valley. On the other hand, in the rococo era, the written or painted album page dedicated to wine or hunting was very fashionable. The latter is referred to both by the inscriptions in the reliefs, which are thought to be a kind of dedication sheet by Steinauer's friends, and by the fact that the reliefs (album sheets) are linked to drinking or wine and the deep piety of the mostly biblical motifs. Both are characteristic of the period mentioned.
Time has severely damaged the reliefs of red sandstone. Due to the acid rain and the salt crystallization, which led to the blasting of different layers, is very advanced. In 1995, first exploratory measures began to prevent the further deterioration of the cultural monument. By the year 2000, around 3,000 litres of stone strengthener had been introduced into the rocks via boreholes and parts particularly at risk were secured with salt storage mortar. In order to finance further maintenance, the "Müller Stiftung Berlin" and the "Gerd Erbslöh Stiftung" were founded with the support of the "Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz" and other donors, with the aim of preserving the rock reliefs.