The status for artists during the Reniassance and Baroque Periods changed from being contracted artisans to "Art Stars" and "Masters". Artists like Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Caravaggio were well known and famous among patrons and audience. The "Master's" artwork became influential as instructions for art later to come and even still today. During the Middle Ages, art production was not that common but the Reniassance changed the status of artists. When ideas of the Reniassance started to spread, the interest in art increased. After artists achieved high status by the patrons, artists started to create their own art and subjects. Reniassance Artists set a high presedent for later artists to be influenced by.
I believe there are still masters of art today. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so maybe the ancient people appreciated art and aesthetics more at the emergence of the Reniassance? But time has changed and art forms are numerous. Along with the invention of technology, new art forms like photography, screen print, digital design and the use of computers have emerged. Film and television also have masters in there fields. Art now may be different from during the Reniassance but that does not mean the quality has changed.