By the early 1500s, some areas of Europe were undergoing what was called the Renaissance which meant a "rebirth" of interest in classical (ancient Greek and Roman) art, literature and culture. Wealthy male patrons commissioned artists to make religious paintings for their churches and palaces which often featured the Virgin Mary--she was very popular. For the first time in over a thousand years, patrons began commissioning pagan subjects (like male and female nudes gods and goddess and mythological stories) which they re-interpreted through Christian discourse to make it acceptable for a Christian audience to view the nude body. They also began to commission portraits although only the very wealthy could afford this so the women who were painted were queens and duchesses, and very wealthy wives. The most popular female subjects were the Virgin Mary, mythological nudes like Venus, Diana, Europa and female heroines like saints who had been martyred. Male patrons also liked assorted paintings of various historical and literary females who were considered good female examples of modesty and virtue, like Judith and Lucretia. Finally, they began commissioning what feminist art historians now call "rape" imagery, but which male art historians used to call abduction or seduction images. These often involved mythological females who had been raped by gods, but instead of showing a scene of power and aggression, male patrons and artists preferred to show the women as resisting a little, but giving in a lot. That meant that the male audience could see themselves as being seducers rather than rapists.