Robert Lentz, O.F.M. (born 1946), is an American Franciscan friar and religious icon painter. He is particularly known for incorporating contemporary social themes into his icon work. He belongs to the Order of Friars Minor, and is currently stationed in Holy Name Province.
Lentz was born in rural Colorado to a family of Russian descent and of a Russian Orthodox background. Lentz originally intended to enter the Franciscan Order as a young man in the 1960s, joining the formation program for St. John the Baptist Province, but left before taking his vows. Afterward, he was inspired by his family's Eastern Christian heritage and became interested in icon painting. He took up formal study in 1977 as an apprentice painter to a master of Greek icon painting from the school of Photios Kontoglou at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Brookline, Massachusetts.
During his time in the Secular Franciscan community in New Mexico, Lentz developed a close relationship to the local friars, and again felt the call to join the order. He was received into the Order of Friars Minor in New Mexico in 2003, and transferred to the Holy Name Province on the East Coast in 2008. After relocating he taught at St. Bonaventure University. He is currently stationed at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Lentz's icons include fourteen large images of recently canonized saints, people of various cultures and ethnicities, and modern secular political and cultural figures. Toby Johnson hails Lentz's icon of Harvey Milk as "a national gay treasure". His 1994 icon of Sergius and Bacchus was first displayed at Chicago's Gay Pride Parade, and has become a popular symbol in the gay Christian community.
Some critics, such as Addison H. Hart, have criticized the works of Lentz and his student, the former Jesuit William Hart McNichols, as being propaganda "to serve their own religious sociopolitical agenda". Lentz and McNichols are both gay, which has caused some friction between McNichols and Church leaders.
- Brother Robert Lentz, ofm at Trinity Stores, retrieved 1 November 2007.
- Julian of Norwich, Icon by Robert Lentz, retrieved November 1, 2007.
- "Texas Church Dedicates Robert Lentz's Artwork". HNP Today, hnp.org. Franciscan Friars, Holy Name Province. February 18, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
- An Exhibition of Contemporary Religious Art by Robert Lentz, Marian Library, retrieved November 1, 2007.
- "Robert Lentz Speaks on Faith and Art, March 29-30". www.naz.edu. Nazareth College. February 23, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- Art That Dares: Gay Jesus, Woman Christ, and More By Kittredge Cherry, reviewed by Toby Johnson, retrieved November 1, 2007.
- O'Neill, Dennis (2010). Passionate Holiness: Marginalized Christian Devotions for Distinctive Peoples. Trafford Publishing. p. 82f. ISBN 1426925050.
- review: God’s Word in Color:The Mystical Language of Icons by Solrunn Nes, reviewed by Addison H. Hart, Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, retrieved November 1, 2007.
- Mubarak Dahir (July 23, 2002)."The dangerous lives of gay priests: fearing a witch-hunt in the wake of the sex abuse scandal, gay Roman Catholic priests talk of their dedication to their work and their God—and of the secret loves that put their careers at risk", page 6. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
- A Passion for Life: Fragments of the Face of God, by Joan D. Chittister and Robert Lentz, 1996, Orbis Books, 132 pages, ISBN 978-1-57075-076-2
- Christ in the Margins, by Robert Lentz and Edwina Gately, 2003, Orbis Books, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1-57075-321-3