The patronage system
Throughout history, there has been a solution to this situation, called patronage. The idea was that an individual, called a “patron”, financially supported a given cause or person. The term “patron of the arts” is still used, as patronage has usually been linked to individuals and groups that sponsor content creators.
Historically, people and institutions in positions of power like kings, nobles and big merchants, funded all kinds of content creators to outfit their palaces, cities, and buildings like country houses and government halls. If you were a content creator and had a powerful patron, your financial security basically guaranteed. During the Italian Renaissance, patrons either commissioned content creators on a work-by-work basis, or they fully took them into their estates, providing housing, food, clothing, etc., while the content creator was fully dedicated to his creation. In fact, depending on the scale of a project, a patron could fund a content creator for years.
Patronage extended beyond individual content creators. Groups of content creators, or guilds, were sometimes commissioned as a group to take on projects. Actually, most content creators were guild members at some point in their life, usually at the beginning of their careers. Among the advantages of belonging to a guild were that the content creator had a support system to work within and learn from, as well as greater opportunities to participate in group commissions.
As the patronage system extended, content creators were more highly regarded by society. They were viewed as individuals with inspiration and not just simple artisans or masons. It could be said that the appreciation of content as a way of valuing its creator continues to shape how we regard content creation today: people who possess special skills that warrant admiration, respect, and payment.
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