Light and dark are the principal theme of this print as well, both in the artistic sense and its symbolic meaning. In this scene, Rembrandt approached the challenge of chiaroscuro by combining various printing methods, and did so in six subsequent variations, or states. Initially, the lantern in Josef’s hand was complemented by other illuminated sections: the moon-lit sky, shrubbery and the figure of the Virgin. Dissatisfied with the result, the artist gradually added dark areas. Finally, it was the composition’s sixth version, in which the lantern remained the sole source of light, that he was fully satisfied with.