If you've ever dreamed of being—or perhaps of micromanaging—the great artists of the Italian Renaissance, then it's time to play Painters Guild.
The simulation game begin in Rome, Venice, or Florence, where you open the titular guild and must decide how to spend your limited funds: by hiring the best apprentices, buying furniture to will keep your artists rested and creative, or decorating the guild with opulent trappings that will increase your prestige. As patrons approach with commissions, you'll decide which artist is best for the task, and try to keep them healthy and productive as various randomized events threaten to distract them from their masterpieces.
Created by Brazilian history teacher and game developer Lucas Molina, Painters Guild does a bit more than just simulate the creation of art; it also integrates elements of the politics and religion that might have impacted an artist from that era. When you begin, for example, you can choose whether to make your initial character gay, which the game notes was punishable by death at the time—a threat that may come into play later. Other events can involve the rise and fall of popes or individual artists running afoul of the law.
It's a charming little game, and one I felt quite content to play for several hours, guiding my artists as they brought pixelated versions of great (and often familiar) works of painting and sculpture to life. If you're interested in more art history games, Molina previously made Avant Garde, a 19th century painting simulator set in Paris that you can play online.
Painters Guild is now for sale on Steam for Windows users, and is sadly not available on mobile, though I'd love to play it there as well.