The Catholic Counter-Reformation defines the period of about 100 years from 1545 to 1648 that was a response to the Protestant Reformation. Important facets of the Counter-Reformation included profound changes in religion and politics. Seminaries were built for a more unified training of priests, and spiritual movements began that focused on the interpersonal relationship with Christ. The Counter-Reformation began with the Council of Trent in 1545 in which a commission of cardinals met to determine necessary changes within the Catholic Church. New orders, such as the Jesuits and Capuchins, helped to unite rural churchgoers and improve other facets such as education and discipline.
The Counter-Reformation decreed that artistic images should only represent the subject depicted without sexual or unholy connotations:
... every superstition shall be removed... all lasciviousness be avoided; in such wise that figures shall not be painted or adorned with a beauty exciting to lust... there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God.
An example of such artistic work of the period is Repentance of Peter (1586) by Doménikos Theotokópoulos (aka El Greco, "The Greek").