Featured Fresco - Mary Great with Child
The true fresco, Mary Great with Child, is housed in St. Mary's Episcopal
Church in West Jefferson, NC. The church is located at 400 Beaver Creek School Rd and
open 24/7 with an audio recording,
available to visitors, gives information about the church
and frescoes. Information is also available on the parish website; phc.diocesewnc.org
and on the facebook site; the parish of the holy communion the churches of the frescoes.
The fresco depicts Mary, who has heard the voice of an angel telling her that she will bear a child who
would be holy and would be called the Son of God. Now, as the time for birthing approaches, she raises
her hand to say, "My heart sings out 'the Lord is Great' and my spirit is happy in God my deliverer".
Over her head, hangs an eclipse of the sun, thought in the time of Christ, to be an omen of something
enormously important about to happen: something that would change the world.
Mary Great with Child was painted in 1974. Ben Long was awarded the prestigious Leonardo da Vinci
International Art Award in 1976 for this portrayal of Mary. The now well-known artist, Bo Bartlett, who
was 19 at the time, assisted in the painting.
Muralist: Benjamin F. Long
Fresco Mention#1 - John the Baptist
John the Baptist, painted in 1976 was his second fresco. Mr. Long's image of John, standing on the bank of the River Jordan,
is the fierce, wild man of the desert, draped in a hairy hide and wielding a big stick. John's eyes have the
strange fire of one who has been a long time in the sun, eating bugs, and seeing things that most of us
cannot see. His voice thunders prophecy: "Turn around! Turn your life, your hearts around! Yes, I wash
you with the water for repentance, but HE is coming! So mighty that I'm not fit to carry his sandals! HE
will cleanse you with the Holy Spirit and with fire! Get ready! Make his paths straight!"
Muralist: Benjamin F. Long
Fresco Mention#2 - Mystery of Faith
The Mystery of Faith, the third fresco, which fills the wall behind the altar, is a striking
crucifixion/resurrection scene. In the foreground, hangs the crucified Jesus in stark, three-dimensional
realism. Rising above and behind the crucified "King of the Jews" is "Christ the King" as a spiritual
presence amid a background of clouds. Mr. Long painted the risen Christ as transcending any
identifiable race or nationality.
Muralist: Benjamin F. Long
John the Baptist Fresco Mention #1
The Mystery of Faith Fresco Mention #2
Featured Artist Bio: Benjamin F. Long IV
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
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.
comment by: Carol
Lincolnton, NC, is loaded with murals! And I love them all!
comment by: Barry & Cindy Beaulieu
we got to see the Fresco in W. Jefferson NC and is amazing ... we were on our two wheeler the Voyager... nature declares there is a God... everywhere you look... thanking ya'll so very very much...
comment by: Vickie Sealock (Welcome Center Manager)
I love what you folks are doing. Several years ago we went to Exeter California to see their Mural trail. We spent hours in this little town looking at the murals and trying to find the hidden objects in each. We talked with the towns people, had lunch, shopped in the shops. I love the mural trails, and yours is going to be one of the best. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
comment by: Liz
Art is everywhere in Asheville! This gorgeous mural of Dolly Parton by Gus Cutty is the newest mural you'll see in town. Gus created the mural with spray paint in 3 days. See it for yourself at Beauty Parade on Haywood Rd in West Asheville.
comment by: Karen
Roanoke murals are awesome to see... love the mural with girl floating in air... the poetry one was different!
comment by: Big Tom
This is great mural art. It will be remembered a long time...
comment by: Bob
This is very expansive mural, covers many walls inside the cradle building. Beautiful art mural, a must see!
comment by: Dolly
Love the big murals!!!
comment by: Lisa Patten
I love the mural trail. It's like seeing a gift at Christmas!
comment by: Ann Barbare
Beautiful mural of Maggie Valley
comment by: Jennifer
Love your mural artwork! The local references, the depiction of marvelous, beautiful, and colorful nature - landscapes, birds, animals, butterflies, and glorious flowers - invites close study and is very engaging!
comment by: Carol
Looks like progress being made! Can't wait to see the mural at Joeys.
comment by: anonymous
Can't wait to see this beautiful mural art in person at Joey's Pancake House
comment by: Amy
I love your little sneak-a-peek view. Need more...