“Wealthy people ought to be grateful for one priceless blessing. They are offered a great opportunity - to devote themselves to charity, which can bring long-term benefit to many of their fellow citizens and, at the same time, fill their own lives.”
Andrew Carnegie, Gospel of Wealth (1889)
The word maecenascomes from Latin and means “support for art and science”.Its founder is considered to be Gaius Cilnius Maecenas, a rich Roman citizen, who supported talented poets he knew and provided financial resources for their creations. Gaius Cilnius Maecenas (70 BC – 8 BC) was a confidant and a counsellor of Gaius Octavius, of the later Roman Emperor Augustus, and, at the same time, protector and supporter of the new generation of Augustan Poets. His name became a synonym for a rich protector of the arts - a maecenas or patron. Another example of a famous maecenas is Catherine de Medici, who contributed significantly to the French Renaissance with her considerable financial patronage.
The word maecenas (mecenášin Czech) was not used in the Czech Republic for a long time. According to the encyclopaedia, a patron is a person who supports cultural and social themes. The logic of patronage, according to Pavel Smutný, the founder and president of the BOHEMIAN HERITAGE FUND endowment fund, is very simple. Whereas the sponsor regards support for culture as an investment which will be repaid to him, a patron does not know when his deposit will accrue interest. He invests in the cultural level and in the future of his children, who will have the hope of living in a more sophisticated society.
A patronage represents a personal relationship between the supported and supporting subject, who seeks no return like advertising or any other kind of propagation. A patron therefore acts for his own reasons and out of his own free will. A patronage is very exceptional in current times. This is the reason why this kind of relationship, based on mutual respect and esteem, is, in these days of hard business, the celebration of human nature.
As in the past, we should not consider patronage as the privilege of the rich. Instead, we must connect this activity to words like generosity, enlightenment and civic awareness. Let us not consider patronage as only a condition of a wallet, but, above all, as the greatness of spirit!