Over the past 20 years, artist Tim Linhart used roughly 2,000 colored pencils in about 150 colors to create “The New Covenant of Jesus Christ.”

Linhart’s father, the Rev. Norman Linhart, a lifelong pastor, inspired him to create the 30-by-40-inch drawing.

“I’m honoring the depth of my father’s commitment to his faith,” he said.

“A highly motivated Christian friend, ‘Mean Gene, the Preaching Machine,’ who really believed in my artist skill, inspired me to focus on the Last Supper.”

The artist will discuss his drawing, now on display in the lobby of Harvest Bible Church, 1460 Eden Road, at the church at 7 p.m. Monday.

Copies of the drawing, available in five sizes, will be for sale after the talk. Each will include a 40-page booklet by Linhart about the drawing. Costs range from $60 to $600.

The Rev. Jonathan Walters, senior pastor at Harvest Bible, said the congregation is glad to host the drawing “so the Gospel can be spoken.”

“I think it’s beautiful, captivating, and what is most intriguing is the two decades it took to draw,” Walters said. “He spent one winter on the ceiling alone.”


Itinerant artist

Born in Kansas, Linhart lived in Colorado, Italy and New Mexico before moving to Sweden, where he currently resides with his wife, Birgitta, and son, Frost, 6. He describes himself as a self-taught artist and a religious independent.

Linhart 1

Tim Linhart and his painting that was given to Harvest Bible Church. Wednesday, October 2, 2019

He is in Lancaster to visit his father, who resides at Willow Valley and worships at Harvest Bible.

Linhart followed his friend’s suggestion because “from a spiritual perspective, Leonardo da Vinci, completely missed the point.

“I was trying to create an image that could tell the message of the gospel that’s really clear and straightforward. A message straight out of the Bible, when Jesus is offering his blood.”

Or, as he explains in the opening sentence of his booklet, where “Jesus explains to his disciples the purpose and significance of his impending death and resurrection.”


Devotional aid

He intends the painting “to serve as a personal devotional aid ... and an evangelical tool to help Christians share their faith.”

Linhart said he used pencil instead of paint because it allowed him to create texture.

“I’m trying to put the viewer at the table — 11 disciples and the viewer. The point is to bring people to the experience as if they are really there. To wipe the fog off the glass, so to speak.”

The texture of the drawing is so dense, he said, that it’s not really like a surface, but “like you could reach into it.”

Hence the reason there’s a “Please Do Not Touch Sign” on the drawing.

His mission, he said, is “to put this drawing out into the world because it has work to do. Every person has this story in him. The drawing brings it to the surface and starts conversations.”

Linhart described how his drawing differs from da Vinci’s. For starters, his table in u-shaped, not straight, which is much more conducive to conversation.

The disciple John, the youngest at the table, sits to the right of Jesus. To depict his age, about 17, Linhart draws him with pimples and a thin beard.

Mary Magdalene is not mentioned at the Last Supper in the Bible, but Linhart puts her in his drawing because he can’t imagine she wasn’t there.

“I tucked her in the corner because it was a paternal society. The men sat together and the women served.”

Linhart said he wrote the booklet “to clarify anything wild and cuckoo about this event that’s grown over time, to get back to what the Bible said.”

He choose to focus his drawing on pouring the wine, breaking bread and the New Covenant to love one another.

“That’s very important,” he said. “That’s the point.”