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First Communicants, 1898

  • oil paint, canvas
  • 46 x 56 cm
  • Inv. 2022-K

Public Domain

In First Communicants, Maurice Denis depicts a confirmation celebration set in the parish church of Saint-Germain in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a suburb of Paris, where the artist lived and worked throughout his life. The scene is bathed in an overall atmosphere of contemplation and modesty. The girls, under the eye of a sister of the Daughters of Charity, recognisable by the typical wide hood, are like floating figures, schematically elaborated and akin to the 'figures d'âme', as the artist himself described them, or frail, immobile female figures that can be related to the typical imagery peculiar to the plays of Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949), which Denis frequently incorporated on canvas during the 1890s-1900s. The soft, harmonious colour palette, composed of shades of blue, green, yellow and pink, emphasises the communion between the communicants as they take the next step in their life of faith.


Maurice Denis RKD
Granville 1870 - Paris 1943
painters (artists)AAT

Title First Communicants
Date 1898
Period 19th century
Location Saint-Germain-en-Laye TGN
Signatures, inscriptions, and markings monogram and year centre below: MAD98
Collection paintings AAT
Object type oil paintings (visual works) AAT
Inventory number 2022-K
Current whereabouts Work on display
IIIF Manifest
Art & Architecture Thesaurus 300189808 figures (representations) AAT
300055874 religious symbolism AAT
Keywords Iconclass 11P3152 monks and nuns Iconclass
11P31522 nun(s) Iconclass
11Q713 interior of church Iconclass
11Q7131(NAVE) parts of church interior: nave Iconclass
11Q72 going to church Iconclass
11Q722 the congregation Iconclass
11Q7221 people in church, walking, talking, etc. Iconclass
11Q7311 Holy Mass (divine service, especially of Roman Catholic Church) Iconclass
11Q731113 reading the scripture ~ Holy Mass Iconclass
11Q731126 Communion ~ Holy Mass Iconclass
11Q732 the seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church Iconclass
11Q7322 confirmation ~ the second of the seven sacraments Iconclass
11Q732452 communion dress Iconclass
31D11222 girl (child between toddler and youth) Iconclass
31D130 Maidenhood Iconclass
41A34 staircase Iconclass
61E(PARIS) names of cities and villages (PARIS) Iconclass
61E(SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE) names of cities and villages (SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE) Iconclass
School / Style Nabi AAT
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