In this painting Claude Lorraine has completely marginalized the biblical subject. The small figures of Mary with the Christ child, Joseph and an angel nearly disappear in the darkness of the wooded area to the left. The landscape, depicted in a clear morning atmosphere, gradually recedes into the depths, while the details are painted with precision. Classical buildings, a bridge, a viaduct and the distant silhouette of a city, the beauty of nature and the shepherd's idyll in the foreground, combine into an idealized landscape, in a manner that was characteristic of the artist's works during these years.


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