Rembrandt in this painting would depict the Holy Family as if they were living in 17th century Netherlands. The wicker crib, for example, can be accurately attributed to Rembrandt's period due to its similar use by another famous name of that period, Pieter de Hooch.
The artist would return to particular themes throughout his career, including the prodigal son for example. The Holy Family also were covered frequently, in a multitude of mediums. Rembrandt would sometimes produce study drawings in preparation for later oil paintings, whilst at other times he would implement much more detail and view them as presentable artworks in their own right.
The overwhelming theme in this piece is that of domestic happiness and intimacy. Small details spread across the composition build this impression, including the splash of light across the angels. Mary is to spend her time relaxing with a book whilst attentively checking on her young baby as he sleeps peacefully.
The Hermitage in St Petersburg holds this painting amongst several other original Rembrandt paintings, sketches and etchings. Their own collection features high profile artists from before the Renaissance right up to the 21st century. You find the likes of Henri Matisse, Diego Velázquez, Nicolas Poussin, Thomas Gainsborough and El Greco.
One of the angels is placed in the pose of the crucifixion which adds a further element of religious symbolism to this composition. Perhaps it is done so in a comforting way, as everythingelse in the painting has a positive theme.