During the 1970s, internationally renowned fresco artist Ben Long created the  frescoes at  Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church on the southwestern edge of West Jefferson. The   images of  Mary Great with Child, John the Baptist, and The Mystery of Faith. This was followed a few years later with a life-size depiction of The Last Supper at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs.

When his military service ended, he went to Italy and became an apprentice to the internationally acclaimed artist Pietro Annigoni, learning fresco art techniques while also devoting himself to mastery of oil on canvas. In 1974, desiring to exhibit his skill and at the same time gain greater recognition for fresco art, he arranged with the Rector of Saint Mary’s Parish at that time, the Reverend Faulton Hodge, to create the first in a series of frescoes in Ashe County. The first (Mary Great with Child) was followed by another (John the Baptist). He then began work on what would become the magnificent image which covers the entire sanctuary wall at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. It has been named The Mystery of Faith. In 1977 he, with a gathering of apprentices and assistants, created a fresco of The Last Supper at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs.

Benjamin Franklin Long IV

Benjamin Franklin Long, IV is a contemporary artist of international stature. He is renowned as a portrait painter and master of the ancient art of fresco painting. Born in Texas, he grew up in Statesville, North Carolina, and studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From there he began advanced studies at The Art Students League of New York. In 1969, with men his age subject to being drafted into military service, he entered a two-year enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps with the hope of becoming a combat artist. Initially that opportunity was not available. After serving as an enlisted man, he went through Officer Candidate School, was commissioned, and on his second tour of duty in Vietnam served as Commander of the Combat Art Team. Much of his art from this time period is on display at the Smithsonian Institute.


About The Artist

St. Mary's Episcopal Church

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St Mary's  Episcopal Church

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