The exhibition explored religious and social functions of art in Italy from about 1580 to 1680. It attempted to raise questions about the content and aesthetics of the paintings in terms of the contemporary concepts of decora, delectara, and movera: to teach, to delight, and to persuade the viewer. The editor writes, "As the exhibition and catalogue essays make clear, these goals, in turn, reflect the new spiritual-cultural exigencies of Catholic society in the wake of the Protestant Reformation and the Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1545–63)" (p. 14). The paintings themselves reveal a variety of styles and approaches to traditional religious subjects, painted at a time that is called by some "the age of Caravaggio," an era that soon yielded to the "age of Rubens" and then to the "age of Bernini." The effect on viewers depended on whether they were informed or not informed (the "informed" defined in the catalogue as "persons thoroughly conversant with artistic practice and theory—such as artists, connoisseurs, and critics" [p. 31]).