In the stable in Bethlehem, three shepherds kneel worshipping the newborn baby Jesus. Mary is lifting the covers to show them the Child. The warm light and subdued colours lend an intimate atmosphere to the painting, which is reflected in the loving gestures of the figures.
Jan de Bray came from a Haarlem family of painters and architects, and specialised in portraits and history paintings.
on a leg of the crib: JDBraij / 1665 JDB in ligature
Gottfried Winkler, Leipzig, 1768 (cat. 1768, no. 288); Johann Caspar Lampe, Leipzig, 1819; Heinrich Wilhelm Campe, Leipzig, 1827; Wilhelm Ambrosius Barth, Leipzig, 1845; Julius Alexander Baumgärtner, Leipzig, 1845-1855; The Albright Leasing Corporation, 1973; sale London, Christie’s, 30 November 1973, lot 54; Agnew’s, London, 1973-1974; Richard Green Gallery, London, 1976; Otto Naumann Ltd, New York; purchased by the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation with substantial support of Mr H.B. van der Ven, 1997; on long-term loan from the the Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation, since 1997
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