As Jesus preaches in the New Testament he who does alms visibly for others to see has his reward in the here and now rather than the hereafter.
Perhaps this element of his teachings can be applied further to creative works, thoughts, deeds that, while largely unrecognised by contemporaries when they are brought forth (reward in the here and now), will gather strength and influence with time, even after the death of their originator (reward in the hereafter).
Shakespeare, whoever he was, is more popular now than in his lifetime and so is his musical equivalent, J.S. Bach, whose music was largely out of fashion come the Age of Reason (second half of 18th century).
The test of time is the litmus test when it comes to creative work, as work that is based in truth and enlightenment will likely outlive its creator, provided there are always those clued-up receptors who recognise and validate quality, even long after the death of the artist/thinker behind said quality.
Meanwhile many artists and thinkers who are in the public eye in their lifetime and get symbolic rewards such as Academy Awards, Nobel prizes, glowing reviews in the mainstream media may in fact not be remembered centuries after their death.
Of course there are always those who have an impact in their lifetime as well as after their death, but it does seem to be an unspoken law that justice does come to bear on creators who, relatively unknown in their own time, come to be acknowledged as significant contributors in the long term.