The early works of Pablo Picasso illustrate his classical training, with his creativity to come into full flow later on in his career. First Communion is a beautiful religious portrait painting, but not what most now consider to be typical of Picasso. There are no signs of his Cubist abstraction or simple line sketches which were to follow on decades later. Pablo's father makes an appearance in this painting, modelling for his son, of whom he had so much belief. The scene captured could almost be a modernised version of an Ilya Repin artwork such as Religious Procession in the Province of Kursk. Perhaps even a John Singer-Sargent realist work capturing American Catholicism.
The style used here boasts of academic qualities, much to the taste of those in the highest art circles. The contrasting shades of dark and light bring a clear focus to the work and Picasso continued this with paintings of very different styles, like Cat eating a Bird. First Communion marked the entrance of Pablo into the art world, with this his first painting to go on show in the public domain. In that respect, the religious scene captured here is remarkably apt.