The seventeenth century Baroque style placed great emphasis upon expressing emotions by means of dynamic compositions and dramatic lighting. Among the artists of that era is Elisabetta Sirani. A very prolific painter, she died at the young age of twenty-six. However, in such a short life she managed to create around 150 extant works.
Her father was also a painter, and during her lifetime he started claiming her works as his own. In order to avoid this Sirani painted in public in order that she has witnesses. Another important painter of these times was Artemesia Gentileschi, again the daughter of a painter. She was famous for her paintings of powerful women like Mary Magdalene and Cleopatra.
Initially the European society during the sixteenth century was somewhat illiterate. The Catholic Church realized this aspect and decided to use art in order to bring back the rebellious Catholics on track. Art was used for societal benefit and had an important role to play for the society, thus forming a solid relationship with it.
 DM Ashcraft, Womenʼs work: a survey of scholaship by and about women (New York: Routledge, 1998), 325.