Since the Renaissance, popes have sought to make Rome the most brilliant city in Christianity. Magnificent churches, fountains, squares, palaces and villas were created. Art has become an instrument of counter-reformation and a means of self-representation of the state.
Rome was a center of attraction for artists from all over Europe. Here they could study ancient and modern monuments in one place. From here they brought a new style of art - baroque - back to their homeland. The most important representative is Peter Paul Rubens. His design for the main altar of Chiesa Nuova is a prime example of the collaboration between the artist and the church.