Composition with a Skull of 1907 is a formal breakdown of elements to bring out a specific horrified response. The skull in the off-center foreground demands attention and reminds the viewer of their mortality.
Revolving around this recognizable object are other elements that have been simplified and jumbled together to create a world of chaos that leads the eye back to the symbol of death, the only thing the viewer can count on, one's own mortality.
The colors are simplified and primal referring back to the primitive images seen by Picasso at the Trocadero. Francoise Gilot remembers Picasso's saying of the objects at the Trocadero museum:
Men had made those masks and other objects for a sacred purpose, a magic purpose, as a kind of mediation between themselves and the unknown hostile forces that surround them, in order to overcome their fear and horror by giving it a form and image. At that moment I realized what painting was all about. Painting isn't an aesthetic operation; it's a form of magic designated as a mediator between this strange, hostile world and us, as way of seizing the power by giving form to our terrors as well as our desires.