Reformation and Counter-Reformation
Religious orders and their function in transmitting the language of the Counter-Reformation
Religious orders celebrated the founding saints with new iconography.
The foundation of some orders was celebrated with the canonisation of new saints. The image of Francis Xavier, the “Apostle of the Indies” increasingly associated with the presence of natives converted through his ministry, was widely used in the Society of Jesus beside St. Ignatius. The Capuchins characterised their settlements through the unique display of human bones as a reminder to meditate on death.
One of the most commonly revisited subjects was the Archangel Michael driving out the rebellious angels, the symbol of perpetual defence and victory of the Church over heresy always.
St. Francis Xavier

c. 1700
Diocese Museum of the Požega Diocese
Požega, Požeško-Slavonska County, Croatia
Attributed to Andrea Pozzo
Oil on canvas
Francis Xavier was known as the "Apostle of the Indies" for his missionary work in the Far East. He played a central role in the iconography of the Jesuits. The gesture of the saint, dressed in his usual black habit and white surplice and in the act of baptising the natives, stands out against the sober brown background.