Pablo Picasso & √2 Diagrams

First Communion: 1896, 118 x 166 cm
‘First Communion’: 1896, 118 x 166 cm


Pablo Picasso painted ‘First Communion’ in 1896. He was around 15 years old at the time. It’s a large painting at 65.4” high by 46.5” wide (166 x 118 cm).

65.4 divided by 46.5 equals 1.41

√2 = 1.414…

‘First Communion’ is built on a √2 armature…


Pablo Picasso- 'First Communion" Diagrams



Primary Diagonals & Reciprocals
Plate 1: Primary Diagonals & Reciprocals


In Plate 1 we can see that the principal figures all fall on intersections of the Primary Diagonals and Riciprocals.


Diagonals, Reciprocals & Centerlines
Plate 2: Diagonals, Reciprocals & Centerlines


In Plate 2 we see that the rectangle divides evenly into halves making it a √2 rectangle.


Rabated Squares
Plate 3: Rabated Squares


In Plate 3 we see that the principal figures are also organized around the Rabated Squares. We will look at this in more detail soon…


Linear Perspective Lines
Plate 4: Linear Perspective Lines


In Plate 4 we can see that the vanishing point for the Linear Perspective is at the centerline on the left. Except for that pesky altar top which is placed higher so that we can see the top of the altar. Is this a harbinger of Cubism or artistic license?


All together
Plate 5: All together


Plate 5 shows all the structure together. Here we can see that a very young Picasso is not simply painting what he sees. He is building for effect.


There is an ongoing debate about this kind of analysis in art…


“We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth at least the truth that is given us to understand. The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.” – Pablo Picasso