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The artist has set Christ's birth in a ruined stable, witnessed by shepherds and angels. The candle Joseph holds symbolizes the supremacy of Christ's divine radiance over earthly light. Beyond the overgrown arch of the dilapidated structure an angel announces Christ's birth to shepherds in the field. Schäufelein based his picture on the Paumgartner Nativity, a painting (now preserved in Munich) by his teacher, Albrecht Dürer. Schäufelein was born in Nuremberg, probably studied under Wohlgemut, and then became the assistant of Dürer, whose style he imitated.

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