The laws of the Old and New Testament meet in this Baroque painting by Frenchman Nicolas Poussin (1594-1655).
Kneeling shepherds adore the newly-born Christ child in a dirty stable that transitions into the ruins of a classical structure. The ruins represent the ending of the Old Testament law, which was ushered out by the Savior being born on Christmas day.
While the shepherds in the foreground of the painting are in various poses of adoration, the shepherds in the background (from earlier in the evening) are shown kneeling in a field and listening to the angel announcing the birth of Christ.
To crown the painting and bring in a little more life, Poussin brushed in in a flying crowd of cherub angels holding flowers and joyously celebrating the birth of the Christ child.
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