1592-96; Oil on canvas; S. Maria degli Angeli, Perugia
Barocci's altarpieces reveal his precise and rapid response to the instructions issued by the Council of Trent on religious art. The Mannerists may have had a refined intellectual quality but they were too often abstruse. Mannerism was now definitely swept aside. In its place came simple images with an obvious flow of them, free of mysteries or complications. Sacred episodes were set in the context of everyday reality. This can be seen from the way Barocci includes the Ducal Palace at Urbino in the background of this altarpiece in the Coli-Pontani Chapel of S. Maria degli Angeli in Perugia, and fills the picture with descriptive detail, including the sleeping cat in the foreground. The figures' sweetness of expression is a direct reference to Correggio.