Sign In Sign out

First Communion

Pablo Picasso

First Communion

Pablo Picasso
  • Original Title: Premiére Communion
  • Date: 1896
  • Style: Realism
  • Period: Early Years
  • Genre: genre painting
  • Media: oil, canvas
  • Dimensions: 165 x 117 cm
  • Buy Handmade Oil Painting Reproductions
    Order Oil Painting

"First Communion" was Picasso’s first large-scale work. The canvas was painted in the atelier of José Garnelo Alda, where Picasso was completing his training following the advice of his father. Garnelo, a friend of José Ruiz’s and the brother of a fellow student of Picasso’s at La Llotja, was himself an art teacher who specialised in religious and moralising subject matter, so Picasso had a range of liturgical objects at his disposal on which to base his composition. In all likelihood, José Garnelo and Picasso’s father chose the motif of this oil painting that would be presented at the Exposition of Fine Arts and Crafts held in Barcelona in 1896, for such subject matter was usually distinguished with the prizes that José Ruiz hoped his son would win at the official salons. Furthermore, Garnelo was very familiar with the theme, for three years before he had painted a similar scene of a young girl, portrayed from the front and dressed for the occasion. The painting is balanced as befits academic standards, and presents a group of figures comprising the little girl dressed for the ceremony, kneeling before a missal on a prie-dieu (in whom we recognise Lola, the artist’s sister), the male character acting as godfather (who has been identified as Doctor Vilches, a friend of Picasso’s father’s) and the godmother (the latter’s wife, according to Palau i Fabre). The three figures appear in profile on three different planes, thereby giving depth to the composition, which is balanced by the figure of the altar boy (the couple’s son). The light source for the scene is located outside the picture plane and reveals Picasso’s technical command, surprising for his age, which is also evinced by the translucence of the girl’s veil, the altar boy’s surplice and the altar cloth, despite their conventionalism. The colour of the painting is also characteristic of the period and befits the religious subject matter: red hues for the walls and the prie-dieu, forming a contrast with the brilliant white of the girl’s dress. The discreet motifs of the carpet and the striped cloth, along with the bright cheerful colours of the altar flowers enhance the colouring of the ensemble. Two studies for First Communion in a sketchbook in the museum’s collection show the figure of Lola kneeling before the prieu-dieu reading the missal, and other sketches and depictions of the altar boy are also kept in the museum.


More ...
  • Tag is correct
  • Tag is incorrect

Court Métrage

Short Films