Cradled in the North Carolina Mountains there is treasure beyond its supreme natural beauty. The frescoes of artist Ben Long have called hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to meditate on their power.
Long has painted impenetrable sacred works in a number of Episcopal Churches in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and I visited two very recently. There is great power in the Long's narrative frescoes-and with nature offering its own ever changing light and shadow, the frescoes are living scenes of the Crucifixion & the Last Supper.
As a young unknown artist, Ben Long began his mountain frescoes in the early 1970's- at Saint Mary's Church in West Jefferson with the Crucifixion and John the Baptist and Mary expectant with child. In 1980, the small village church of Glendale Springs, Holy Trinity was the site of Long's fresco the Last Supper. Locals posed for studies of the fresco imposing itself on the central wall of the church, with "Thomas"- a self portrait of the artist.
Light streaming in the church windows brings the fresco to Life.
Simple handmade tables and benches in the churches give the figures permission to step out of the paintings. There is a sense that these figures are alive and it is that sense that brings meaning to the stories of each fresco.
in Detail, elements of the Last Supper fresco and some of the other frescoes in the 2 churches by Long and his students.
Long, a native North Carolinian studied fresco with master Pietro Annigoni in Italy for 8 years.
Ben Long Fine Art here
Ben Long Fresco Trail here