The Catholic Counter-Reformation took actions to redirect the focus of artists on the religious subject matter and away from decorative additions to the work. It was decided that artistic renditions would be direct and accurate presentations of Biblical events, without personal, decorative or imaginary embellishments. Piety was the general emotion to be expected. Counter-Reformation art was different from the Protestant Reformation art which emphasized a naturalistic portrayal of the beauty in God's world. Instead, Counter-Reformation art centered on strictly "sacred or religious content." The belief was that such art would inspire a greater and closer contact with the church and with the individual's personal spiritual enlightenment.
An example of such a work would be The Lamentation (1591), by Scipione Pulzone (aka Il Gaetano).