Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1879
Raising his hand in a gesture of greeting, the angel awakens the sleeping shepherds. They respond in amazement to the words of the angel. One shepherd shields his eyes with his hand from the “glory of the Lord” that “shone round about them.” Another bows his head to the ground in reverence at hearing this sacred proclamation. Others kneel with their hands folded in gestures of worship. Even the sheep are attentive to the appearance of the angel. The light emanating from the holy being fills the darkness of the night; the new star appears in the heavens. The adoring gestures and facial expresions of he shepherds direct our attention back to the angel.
(Excerpt taken from “The Master’s Hand: the Art of Carl Heinrich Bloch”)