Appalachian Mural Trail

"The Last Supper" Featured Fresco
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
Glendale Springs, NC

Blue Ridge MilePost: 259
Latitude:36.346176, Longitude:-81.381378


Featured Fresco Artist: Benjamin F. Long IV
Trail Member/Sponsor: Episcopal Parish of the Holy Communion

Fresco Descriptions

    Featured Fresco - The Last Supper   This true fresco, which fills the wall behind the altar in Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Glendale Springs, NC, was created in 1980 by Benjamin F. Long, whose home town was Statesville, NC. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church located at 248 JW Luke Road is open 24/7 and an audio recording, available to visitors, gives information about the church and the figures in the fresco. Information is also available on the parish website;, and on the facebook site the parish of the holy communion the churches of the frescoes.

    True fresco painting, a special kind of mural, is one of the most challenging of all art forms. "Fresco" is Italian for "fresh". Wet plaster is applied to a wall and while still wet, colored mineral pigments are painted into the plaster. Because the pigments bond so quickly into wet plaster, great skill and meticulous plans are required. In this technique where the pigments actually penetrate into the plaster, light is reflected differently as compared to painting onto a hard surface, and a fresco image appears to be more three-dimensional.

    The Last Supper depicts a scene in first century Jerusalem. The figure haloed by the window is a Jewish Rabbi named Jesus. He and his followers are celebrating the Passover with a local family and eating the Seder meal, which make present again the events of the night when God freed the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt. Jesus uses this occasion to teach His friends about servanthood and selfless love. He introduces a sacrament by which we make him present again in our own lives.
    Fresco Artist: Benjamin F. Long IV

    Fresco Mention#1 - Moses on Mount Sinai  Over the main entrance doorway in the rear of the church is a fresco of Moses bringing the tablets of the law down from Mount Sinai by artist Charles Kapsner. He shows Moses in his anger at the Israelites who have rejected the God who brought them out of Egypt and have gone back to worshipping the man-made idols of their slave days.
    Fresco Artist: Charles Kapsner

    Fresco Mention#2 - Agony of Christ  In the vestibule is The Agony of Christ , a fresco by Sheila Batiste, a young woman who was among a group of art students working with Mr. Long during the painting of The last Supper. She has portrayed the agony of crucifixion in stark terms, and with black features. In her picture, the face of Christ is the universal face of human pain.
    Fresco Artist: Sheila Batiste

    Fresco Mention#3 - Departure of Christ  In the columbarium on the lower floor of the church is a fresco, The Departure of Christ was painted in 1984 by Jeffrey Mims. This fresco depicts Jesus leaving his mother, home, and relatives to begin his ministry. Mr. Mims was a student of Ben Long and was commissioned to paint this fresco as a memorial to a young girl in the congregation who died at the age of 10 after being struck by a truck near St. Mary's Church. Based on this fresco, Mr. Mims won the American Classical Award for Art.
    Fresco Artist: Jeffrey Mims

Moses on Mount Sinai
Fresco Mention #1

Agony of Christ
Fresco Mention #2

Departure of Christ
Fresco Mention #3


Artists Bio

     Benjamin F. Long IV was born in Victoria, TX in 1945 where his father, a fighter pilot in WW II, was stationed. His mother returned to their home in NC while Ben was still a baby. Reared in a family of artists, writers, professors, and university presidents, Long was as precocious in his artistic ability as he was eager to apply it. At 18, Long followed his father's footsteps to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Creative Writing under the guidance of his friend and advisor Reynolds Price. Upon completing his University coursework and at the insistence of his advisor, Long moved to New York to immerse himself in the study of fine art.

     In NYC, Long became a member of the Art Students League of New York, studying under the guidance of such notable artists as Robert Beverly Hale and Frank Mason. Then, in 1969, Long preempted the draft by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served just over two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Marine Corps Combat Officer; during his last tour he served as Commander of the Combat Art Team, and much of his work from that period is now on display at the United Stated Marine Corps Museum.

     Upon leaving Vietnam, Long traveled to Florence, Italy, to apprentice himself to internationally renowned Maestro Pietro Annigoni, with whom he learned the art of True Fresco. Long committed himself to Annigoni for almost nine years. His apprenticeship culminated in 1976, when he was awarded the prestigious Leonardo da Vinci International Art Award for his first fresco in the U.S. St. Mary Great With Child. This painting was followed by three other frescoes. All four of these frescoes were created in two Episcopal churches in Ashe County, NC.

     In 1984, Long moved to France where, for the next 14 years, he split time between Paris and the Gard region of Provence. By that time, Long had completed several frescoes in Italy, including a joint fresco with Annigoni and the only work by a non-Italian at the Abbey of Montecassino. These works set the stage for 15 major fresco projects in the U.S. including a dome and the largest secular fresco in the United States.

     In addition to his prolific fresco work, Long has had works in the Royal Academy as well as the Royal Portrait Society (London, UK). He has exhibited in Florence, London, Paris, Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and is represented in major collections throughout Europe and the Americas. He has lived and worked in Europe for over thirty years and now divides his time between Europe and the United States. He currently lives mainly in Asheville, NC where he has two art studios and an art school.

     Charles Gilbert Kapsner was born in Little Falls, Minnesota in 1952. He studied art history and water color painting at St Cloud State University. In 173, he began studies at the Universita Internazionale dell' Arts in Florence, Italy. In 1974, Kapsner started a five-year study at the private studio of Madame Nerina Simi in Florence. While here, he apprenticed with the established true fresco artist Benjamin Long.

     Mr. Kapsner has been recognized nationally and internationally, receiving the 2005 Career Achievement Award from the Florence Biennale, the Salmagundi Club Award, and having a painting placed in the permanent collection of the US Coast Guard in 2017. He received the Silver Medal in the Oil Painters of America Salon in 2016, and was a finalist in the 2016 Portrait Society of America Still Life division. The Five Wing Arts Council in Minnesota selected Kapsner as its Master Artist for 2013-2014.

     His work has been displayed in solo and group exhibitions from Minnesota to California, North Carolina, New York, Italy, and France. He was commissioned by the Minnesota State, Veterans Cemetery Memorial Association to design and paint five large oil paintings to pay tribute to the men and women of the five branches of the US Military. These paintings are installed in the Committal Hall of the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery near Little Falls.

     Sheila Batiste was born in 1955 near Goldsboro, NC. She received her batchelor's and master's degrees from UNC-Greensboro. In her career as an artist, she received the "Anonymous Was A Woman" award in 1999. This award is given to women artists who are over 40 years of age, in part as a way of countering sexism in the art world. The award comes with a grant of $25,000 and is designed to enable exceptional women artists to further develop their work.Awardees are chosen on the basis of their past accomplishments, their originality and artistic growth, and the quality of their work.

    Sheila has exhibited works on transcending race themes. She is now an art teacher in the East Hampton, NY School District.

     D. Jeffrey Mims was born in Southern Pines, NC. in 1954. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Mims as a painter, educator, lecturer, and muralist, has been at the forefront of the revival of the classical tradition for many years. In 1976, he received an Elizabeth T. Greenshields Foundation grant to copy masterworks in museums in England, France, and Italy. In 1981, he returned to Florence, Italy to study with Benjamin Long, the famous true fresco artist, for a year.

     Mr. Mims painted the true fresco "The Departure of Christ" in Holy Trinity Church in Glendale Springs, NC during 1983-84. He was commissioned to paint this fresco as a memorial to a young girl in the congregation who died at the age of 10 after being struck by a truck near St. Mary's Church. This fresco depicts Christ leaving his family to preach the Gospel, the good news that there is life forever. Jesus embraces his mother, Mary, as his grandmother, Anne, looks on. The men and women of the village are about their daily chores.

     In recognition of this mural fresco, Mims received the "Arthur Ross Award" for "excellence and integrity in the application of classical ideals" in 1984. In 2009, he was awarded the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America "Alma Schapiro Prize", a Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. Mims has lectured on historic collaborations between artists and architects for the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, the University of Notre Dame, and other organizations.

     The Academy of Classical Design in Southern Pines, NC was founded by Mr. Mims in 2011. He is currently its Director. The Academy is a studio school of fine art with an emphasis on traditional mural painting and architectural decorations. The Academy serves as the educational branch of the Classical Design Foundation, a US-based non-profit organization which was established for the preservation and practice of classical design in the public realm.

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