Saint Joseph stands behind the Virgin who kneels by the Christ Child. The ox and ass are in the stall behind the manger. New Testament (Luke 2: 15-16).
The composition derives from Rembrandt's versions of the subject, notably those of 1646 in Munich (Alte Pinakothek) and in the National Gallery.
Barent was the younger brother of the painter Carel Fabritius, who had been one of Rembrandt's most talented pupils and who was prematurely killed in the explosion of the municipal gunpowder magazine in Delft in 1654. The Gallery owns two works by Carel: 'A View of Delft, with a Musical Instrument Seller's Stall' and 'A Young Man in a Fur Cap and a Cuirass (Self Portrait?)'. Barent mostly painted religious history scenes, genre subjects and portraits.