Without the support of a patron, artists wouldn’t have had the resources to do great work. We all have to eat.
And those patrons often gave pretty clear instructions regarding the topic of the art. For example, painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel wasn’t Michelangelo’s idea. The work was commissioned by Pope Julius II.
In fact, Michelangelo was reluctant to take on the project. He would rather have been sculpting.
But you know how it goes…what the client wants, the client gets. (Particularly when, in addition to being the Pope, you are also referred to as “Il papa terribile”.)
The thing being, the artist’s life isn’t so very different from the freelancer’s life.